The information in this post can also be found at www.poolsafely.gov Well Folks it is upon us. Pool season is making it’s appearance. Typically people shoot for Memorial day to get their pools open for the season but it has already started. People are opening their pools and getting things around for the summer. Builders have already broken ground this year and started putting pools in. It’s just a matter of time before backyards everywhere are full of kids playing, and swimming and adults cooking out and enjoying peaceful nights by the pool. For those who have had a pool for a number of years already, they may have fallen into a routine of sorts. It is not hard to do though. Many of us are subject to routine. We wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep , and do it all over again the next day. This type of thing happens with swimming pool owners on a yearly basis. They open their pools, add chemicals, swim for the summer, and close the pool again in the fall. Most people pay little attention to the safety side of things. Swimming pool safety is something that I am very adamant about I have written several blog posts on this topic and many have of them have similar content. As I write them I realize that I am repeating myself but the fact is that it’s like anything else. With repetition comes memory, the more you do something the more you will remember about it. So this post will more than likely be similar to my others on the topic of pool safety. If you think of your pool in terms of power you will begin to realize that having a swimming pool does in fact give you some level of power. Your kids might want to have a pool party, your neighbors may want to have a weekend cookouts at your place instead of another neighbors. Your friends may ask to use your pool when you go out of town. When this happens and it usually will, you suddenly have the power to determine if and when these things will happen, who will be there, how long the event will be, who brings what, and so on. Just like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility” you as the pool owner should take steps in making sure that whoever comes to your cook outs, pool parties, or casual swim days are as safe as they can be. I just want to touch on some things that you can do to help insure the safety of your swimming pool guests.
One thing that you can do is install a fence around your pool. This is a good idea even if you have an automatic pool cover that requires a key or code to open the pool. By installing a 4′ tall fence around the pool you will effectively deter anyone who wants to swim in your pool without your say so. In addition to the fence you should also install the gate so that it opens away from the pool. By doing that it will make it more difficult for those clever little kids to gain access to your pool area. If the gate swings open away from the pool a clever little kid that grabs a chair to reach the gate latch will soon realize that they have put the chair they are standing on in the way of the gate. You might think that this wouldn’t work but in reality anything you can do to prevent uninvited entry into your pool area will be beneficial to the safety of your pool.
Another thing that can be done is to install an alarm system in the pool area to notify you if someone enters without your say so. These come in several different styles. You can install alarm triggers on your gates, doors, and windows, or there are alarm systems that sense motion, in the pool. There are even alarms that can be attached to the wrist of a child. Again anything you can do to add to the safety of your pool will benefit everyone.
As far as just basic steps to take there are several. First remember that alcohol and water don’t mix. I understand that back yard cook outs often times involve alcohol but again use your best judgement and know your limits. If children are swimming in the pool it is a good idea to designate an adult to watch them. I don’t mean listen to them though an open window, I mean actually watch them. The designated adult should be free from distractions like social media, texts, or t.v. I realize that all of those things can now be done on your phone but it is important to not be distracted by such things when acting as life guard. This brings me to my next point. Take the time to learn CPR and get certified. It doesn’t take that much time or effort to learn and knowing it would add to the overall safety of your pool. Another thing that takes only a second is to have a phone somewhere near the pool. You can take a portable phone outside or your cell phone. You do not want this to be a distraction but you do want it there just in case you need to make an emergency phone call. In an emergency situation time is valuable. You don’t want to have to leave the area to get a phone to make the call. There are some products available to purchase that will also add to the level of safety of your pool. A shepard’s hook is a device that attaches to a pole and extends your reach. A safety buoy or “life saver” is a circular floatation device with a rope that can be thrown to anyone who may be struggling in the water. Life jackets are also a good idea for younger kids or those who can’t swim. Things like boogie boards, foam noodles, and even water wings should not be confused with safety devices. They are toys that are not designed for safety. A major tip if you have children is teach them at an early age how to swim. It not only increases the safety level, but it has been directly related to cognitive development.
These are just a few steps that you as the pool owner can take in an effort to increase the safety level of your swimming pool. Remember its never too late to increase safety and you still have time to do so before this swimming pool season.
For more information on swimming pool safety check out my other blogs posts with similar titles or go to www.poolsafely.gov