Having a swimming pool is lots of fun, great recreation, and excellent exercise. However, to keep your pool experience on the positive side, it’s important that you and everyone who uses your swimming pool understand pool safety.
In this article, we will review some essential poolside safety tips for yourself, your friends, family. and guests in your pool. For additional assistance with pool safety, you can always consult your local pool service company.
Let’s Take a Look at Some Pool Safety Basics That Can Benefit Everyone:
- Even small pools should be fenced. If possible, even children’s wading pools should be kept behind fences. Full-size pools must have safety fence and locking gates to ensure that children cannot gain access while unattended.
This may sound like an intimidating project, but don’t worry! –Your pool maintenance company can advise you about the best fencing and gates for your situation.
- Children must be supervised at all times. It goes without saying that there should always be an adult who is a strong swimmer present when children are swimming. Remember that it only takes 2 minutes to drown!
Even if you’ve got older children who are competent swimmers, that doesn’t mean they are mentally or physically equipped to assist a younger sibling or friend who’s struggling. Any children under 12, or who aren’t yet confident swimmers, need to be under the supervision of an attentive adult at all times.
- Establish a buddy system. Whenever groups of children are swimming, each child should have a buddy. The buddies should watch out for each other and sound the alarm if anything goes wrong.
What does “sound the alarm” mean? That is a collaborative decision between you, your family, and your pool-loving friends. Get everyone on the same page about using a whistle, choosing a “danger” word to yell, or whatever method works best for you and your crew.
- Post and review pool rules. Pool rules should be clearly displayed in an easy-to-see location. When new swimmers are first introduced to the pool, the rules should be pointed out and reviewed.
Your local swimming pool service can help you locate appropriate signs. Young swimmers may roll their eyes, but it only takes a quick slip and fall to cause serious injury!
- Learn First Aid & CPR. Knowing what to do in case of drowning, or other life-threatening emergency situations, can save time and lives. Be sure that there is always an adult trained in First Aid & CPR present when the pool is in use.
Many local agencies offer these courses for free, and it only takes a few hours to get certified. If you’ve got older children who may qualify for the courses, get them educated as well!
- If water is inhaled, see a doctor right away. Drowning can happen very quickly, and you don’t have to be fully submerged for it to happen. It’s much more about a dangerous amount of water entering one’s lungs, without direct action to expel it, so the person can once again breath properly.
If a person was submerged unintentionally for over 2 minutes, they need to see a doctor immediately. This is true even if they seem okay, so that preventive measures can be taken to avoid long-term lung damage.
- Familiarize yourself with the pool before swimming. Especially with larger public pools, it’s important to walk all the way around the perimeters. This allows you to pay close attention to the depth indicator numbers, as well as the location of ladders, stairs and diving boards.
If you’ve got children with you, be sure you take them along. It only takes a moment. This way, everyone can avoid accidental diving into shallow water, or getting disoriented if they become fatigued while swimming.
- Make use of rope and line floats. If you’ve got a large pool, secure a rope with line float across its center. This allows children and weak swimmers to know where the shallow end stops and the deep end begins.
Additionally, it’s a safe spot to take a quick rest for tired swimmers. Your weekly pool service company can help you outfit your pool for safety measures such as this one.
- Dip your toe in the water before entering. We’ve all seen cartoons of swimmers doing this, and there’s actually a pretty good safety reason. Jumping into water that is far colder than you expected can cause you to reflexively inhale while you’re submerged.
No one wants that! Even skilled swimmers can find themselves in a dangerous situation if they’ve inadvertently inhaled water. Give your body a “preview” of the temperature before diving in.
- No horseplay! Be very careful not to jump or dive onto nearby swimmers simply because you didn’t look carefully. You can risk accidental injuries, or send a weak swimmer into a dangerous panic.
Always be aware of your surroundings. This including water depth, as well as nearby swimmers and their movements. It only takes a couple of seconds for a moving body to go from ‘nearby’ to RIGHT THERE if you aren’t paying attention!
- No running by the pool! Children ages 14 years and younger are the most common drowning victims. One of the main ways the children and youngsters drown is by accidentally slipping and falling into the pool. This can happen even with competent swimmers, if they find themselves unexpectedly submerged.
The combination of water and hard slick, concrete and water can be incredibly dangerous. Aside from drowning hazards, no one wants their skull to meet the concrete in a swift and avoidable running accident!
- Use recreational flotation devices appropriately. Inflatable and styrofoam pool toys are fun to have around. However, it’s important to remember that they are not lifesaving devices.
If you’ve got a youngster or a weak swimmer, proper life jackets and buoyant swimwear are far safer than free-floating pool toys. Be sure your vulnerable swimmers are equipped with more than just a slippery noodle!
- Have proper safety equipment on hand. You should have a light, strong, rigid pole or shepherd’s crook that is at least 12′ long and has blunt ends. These are a great rescue tool in the event that someone begins struggling in the middle of the pool.
Additionally, you may want to invest in a thick, sturdy throwing rope that is 1.5 times the widest part of the pool. This should be secured to a ring buoy that can hold the rope’s weight, or some other approved safety flotation device. Again, this can be a literal lifesaver for hard-to-reach swimmers who are gasping for air.
- Don’t swim during a storm. We all know to get out of the pool in the presence of lightening and thunder. Water conducts electricity very well, creating a significant risk for electrocution.
But even if a light shower begins, you want to go ahead and clear out the pool just to be cautious. Check your weather forecast to gauge how soon it will be safe to return to the water again.
- No food or drink directly by the pool. In addition to potential spills and soggy food, you also want to avoid broken glass or sharp aluminum entering your pool water.
Additionally, eating and drinking directly adjacent to the pool creates a potential safety hazard. A child choking on their meal is frightening enough as it is. But if it happens right as they jump into the pool, that creates a whole new level of danger!
While this may seem like a lot of rules, the happy result of following them is safe swimming fun for everyone! To learn more about poolside safety, call on your local swimming pool service for expert advice!