Pool safety is a top priority for many families — especially those families with little ones running around. Pools can be great fun, but they’re also a major risk for babies and toddlers; reports show that around 800 kids drown in swimming pools each year.
Pools also pose a very real danger to our four-legged friends. Every year, dogs, cats, and even wild animals like deer suffer tragic fates in swimming pools. Whether you have kids (or pets) living with you full time or your grandkids, neighbors, or nieces and nephews only visit occasionally, every pool owner has an obligation to master pool safety.
How can you protect the children, animals, and inexperienced swimmers in your life? The best thing you can do is learn everything you can about drowning prevention. And you’re in luck — the Lifeguard on Duty team is here to get you started with a few pool safety tips.
Check Your Local Laws
When you first install a swimming pool in your home or move into a home with a pool, your first instinct might be to dive right in and start swimming. However, there’s no guarantee that your pool is ready for use as soon as the water is in. Before you take a dip, you’ll need to check your local laws regarding pool safety.
For example, California has required all pool owners to install at least two drowning prevention measures (like a pool fence or cover) since 2018. In Nevada, all pools need to be surrounded by a fence that’s at least 48-inches high.
Of course, these laws can vary depending on your city, so make sure you check the specific requirements in your area before you start using your pool.
Set Clear Rules
In addition to the local laws in your area, it’s wise to establish clear pool rules with your family. Talk with your children about pool safety tips they’ve learned from friends or at school, and ask them to help you pick rules that are important, like “no running” or “no diving”.
Getting your children involved in the rule-making process can be a great way to help them remember your pool safety tips. It can also help ensure they follow the rules — after all, kids are more likely to abide by rules they’ve set themselves!
Even if everyone in your home is aware of the rules and follows them closely, there’s always a risk for accidents. This is why it’s so important for you (and any other adults in your home) to be prepared for the worst.
One of the best ways to prepare for possible accidents is to get CPR certified. You can find CPR classes at most hospitals or community centers (you can also contact the American Red Cross to find a class near you). Most CPR courses only take an afternoon, and you’ll learn valuable information that just might save your child’s life.
Learn the Signs of Drowning
Even if you know CPR and have all the necessary drowning prevention equipment on hand, you may not always know when to use your life-saving knowledge. This is why it’s important to learn the signs of drowning, so you can spot trouble and take action right away.
Some of the signs of drowning include:
- The child’s head is low in the water with the mouth at or below water level
- Glassy eyes wide open
- The child’s bod is nearly vertical with little leg movement
- Gasping or hyperventilating
Make sure you and any other adults present at the pool are aware of these signs. Recognizing trouble early is the best way to prevent a child from suffering serious injury at the pool.
Always Swim Together
When you’re at the pool, it’s best to use the buddy system. Make sure your kids know that it’s critically important to swim together, so one person is always available to help if there is an accident. Swimming with a friend or parent is one of the best ways to prevent drowning.
And parents, this pool safety tip goes for you, too. Research shows that 66% of the annual drowning deaths worldwide involve people who already know how to swim! Even if you feel like you’re a strong and capable swimmer, there’s always a risk that’s simply not worth taking. Also, swimming with a buddy is a great way to model good water habits for your little ones.
Invest in Safety Equipment
And finally, let’s discuss one of the most important pool safety tips around (so important that many cities have made it the law): YOU NEED POOL SAFETY EQUIPMENT.
While CPR lessons and a buddy system can be life savers when everyone is at the pool together, they aren’t effective drowning prevention tools.of your child is alone. That’s why you need pool safety solutions that will prevent your child from accessing the water on their own.
Use a pool cover to keep kids from falling into the pool. Install a pool fence to keep them a safe distance from the water’s edge. You could even add an alarm to your back door to warn you of little explorers headed towards the pool! Whatever safety measures you use, make sure it’s something you can trust — like a pool fence, net, or cover from Lifeguard on Duty.