When you have kids, having a pool can be a great amenity. You can fill the warm days of summer with family time spent by the pool, and you never have to leave your home. However, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with pool ownership as well with pool safety being at the top of the list.
Legally, the pool owner has the duty to maintain the pool premises so that the area is safe for visitors. You also have to make sure it’s a safe area for your children on a daily basis. Certainly not an impossible task, but one to consider if you’re thinking about putting in a pool or buying a home that has a pool.
The following are some of the most important things to know regarding at-home pool safety. These are tips to protect your own children and other people as well.
Know the Facts
Having an understanding of the true nature of pool risks can help you be proactive to prevent against them.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children age 1 to 4 are most at risk of both fatal and nonfatal drowning accidents. Most child drownings occur in home swimming pools, and when children get into a pool on their own.
The CDC says that young kids who drown in home pools were typically last seen in their home and had been out of sight for no more than five minutes.
Layers of Protection
There is a general phrase often used when talking about home pool safety, which is “layers of protection.” It means, quite literally what it sounds like.
You want to have different layers of protection around your pool so that if one doesn’t work, the others will. Layered security includes physical barriers, pool alarms, and the necessary behavioral steps to protect your children and other people who may visit your pool.
You have to think about the safety issues of not just the pool itself and water safety, but you also want safe fencing, pool covers, and drains. You should properly and safely store all pool chemicals.
With pool covers, there are situations where children get stuck beneath pool covers that are partially removed, which can lead to drowning. This can occur with above- and below-ground pools. The pool cover should either be all the way off or all the way on—never in between.
As far as the pool drain system, many states require the main drains to be covered to avoid children being trapped by the suction. In states where this isn’t mandated, it’s still important to cover all pool drains.
There are also anti-entanglement and anti-entrapment drain covers specifically geared toward reducing the risk of a child’s hair or fingers getting sucked into a drain.
Beyond the general idea of layers of protection, there are specific things you can do.
Pool fencing is an important part of the layers of protection you enact for your home pool. Your pool should be fully surrounded by a fence that’s a minimum of four feet tall.
The fence needs self-closing and self-latching gates, and these latches shouldn’t be within reach of children. The fence should provide complete separation from the house and the pool.
You should also install a pool alarm on the door that leads to the pool.
A pool alarm is a good way to keep your own children safe, but also other people’s children in the neighborhood or visitors’ children.
The recommendation, along with an alarm on the door leading to your pool is having at least an underwater swimming pool alarm that detects motion.
It’s better to have a motion detector for under the water instead of one that detects surface movement because a surface alarm can often be triggered by false alarms like the wind.
Teach Your Child How to Swim
It’s so important for children to learn how to swim if you have a pool or not. However, with that being said, a child knowing how to swim isn’t a safeguard against drowning in and of itself. Instead, this should be part of your layers of protection with regards to pool safety.
Most experts recommend children learn how to swim as early as possible, but still, even in kids who are good swimmers, they should wear a life jacket when they’re using the pool if they’re under a certain age.
Finally, if you plan to have a pool party, think about hiring a lifeguard to help you keep on top of pool safety. It’s too difficult to keep an eye on everyone at a party otherwise.
*This is a collaborative post