13 Tips to Keep Your Family Safe During Pool Season

Over 200 children die every year accidents in backyard swimming pools, according to the American Red Cross. Use these tips to keep yours from becoming statistics.

By Amandalyn Vanover

 

With summer fun comes important rules, especially when it comes to pool safety. Follow these tips to ensure your pool is a safe place for everyone.

 

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Swimmers Only

First and foremost, adults should only enter the pool if able to swim properly, otherwise ensure an experienced swimmer accompanies the person into the pool in the event they require assistance. Children should never enter a pool alone, even if they are able to swim. Arm floats, air cushions, life vests and other floatation devices are recommended for anyone that doesn’t swim well or at all. Keep in mind that “floaties,” inflatable pool toys, and floating chairs are not meant to be used as a lifesaving devices. You should always have an actual lifesaving device on hand by your pool.

 

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Use the Buddy System

In close relation to the first tip, the second most important thing about pool safety to keep in mind is to make sure another swimmer is present and either supervising or in the water with the other swimmers. Think of the buddy system when it comes to pool safety. An experienced swimmer should stay within arm’s reach of young children at all times when in the pool, as an accident can happen in just a second. If there’s an accident or emergency, the second person is able to help the person, get help from someone else, or call 911.

 

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Secure the Perimeter

Pool security and pool maintenance are vital when it comes to protecting your family and friends who are going to be using your swimming pool. You can install an alarm for the pool that alerts you if someone enters the pool. Keep your pool clear and clean by maintaining the proper levels of chemicals and a good filtration system. Testing the water regularly and making necessary adjustments to the chemical levels will minimize the risk of rashes, earaches and other diseases to those in the pool. A 4-foot barrier or fence that has either a self-latching gate or self-closing gate should completely surround your swimming pool. When you aren’t using the swimming pool, cover it with a safety pool cover. Remove steps and ladders from around the pool.

 

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No Triple Lindys

Teach your entire family the proper way to use a diving board. Diving or jumping from the front of the diving board is the only way to use it. No one should ever dive anywhere from the board except on the front. Period. No one should ever jump from the sides — EVER. Trying to dive from the side of a diving board can end traumatically; the diver’s head or other body part can hit the pool edges, causing serious injury or even death.

 

When it comes to diving and jumping, a crucial safety tip to teach the little ones and make sure the larger ones in the family are reminded of is to never jump or dive in shallow water. Diving or jumping in the shallow water of a pool is extremely dangerous and can cause death if the person hits the edge or bottom of the pool too hard. Shallow water is considered to be 8 feet or less.

 

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Another piece of pool equipment the kids love to play on is the pool slide. Even though it seems fun when the little ones head down ‘head-first,’ teach them they are only allowed to slide feet-first down the pool slide. Serious injuries can happen when going down head-first. There should only be one person using the slide at a time. Everyone should check the landing spot from the slide in the water to make sure no one is still there before going down the slide. This will prevent people from landing on each other in the water and having accidents.

 

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An often forgotten about point of swimming to teach the family and include in the pool rules is that everyone takes the time to use the bathroom before getting into the pool. Teach the little ones they have to get out of the water to go use the bathroom, they can’t take care of business in the pool.

 

Stay Hydrated

It’s important that everyone drinks plenty of water (not the pool water) to stay hydrated. Don’t let the fun in the sun take its toll by getting too hot and not quenching your thirst throughout the day. Becoming dehydrated while being in water is entirely possible.

 

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While your family needs to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the hot days in the sun and splashing around in the pool, they should never use glass containers in or around the pool. From pool decks to ladders, decorations, tables, chairs and pool walls, there are multiple risks posing the threat of a beverage glass or bottle breaking. Since so many scenarios exist where glass can get broken, then just make it an all-out rule that all drink containers must be plastic, paper, foam, metal or in a can. Acrylic tumblers are perfect for outdoor beverage use and are available for sale most retail and grocery stores.

 

But Don’t Drink

It’s just as important that swimmers aren’t drunk or under the influence of medications. Some pharmaceuticals, over the counter drugs and of course, alcohol impair a person’s ability to swim as well as other cognitive functions and motor skills. Breathing and orientation may also be affected by alcohol and medications.

 

No Running

Although it’s great when your kids decide they are going to take up running for fitness, they should never practice the skill around the pool or pool deck. Running on the pool deck or around the pool is dangerous and pose risks of slips and falls. A severe injury can occur.

 

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Enforce the same rules for the family members you don’t think about when it comes to family pool safety: the pets. They can easily tire in the sun and should always have a swimmer keeping an eye on them too. It’s also wise to remember that not every oet knows to properly swim either. Teach every family member that pets are not allowed to go swimming without supervision.

 

Don’t allow anyone to get rowdy, horseplay or push anyone else in or around the pool. Rough games that involve holding the breath, dunking, lifting and throwing others in the air are risky. What the kids may think is fun (like pushing someone in the pool for a laugh) can severely injure the person due to the sudden yank, throw or push into the water when they least expect it.

 

Get trained in CPR and First Aid. Teach everyone how to swim with classes available from the local Red Cross or YMCA. Classes are available for children and adults.

 

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It’s important to keep these pool safety tips in mind so your summer doesn’t end in tragedy.