Child Pool Safety
How to make your pool safe for kids
Making your pool a safe environment for children is imperative for a homeowner. Now, if you are shaking your head, saying "Well, I don't have kids," that is your first mistake. In the United States, you can be sued for wrongful death if someone dies on your property because you didn't take a necessary precaution.
Here are a few ways to make your pool safer:
- Build a Fence. Make sure that your yard is fenced in. If you have young children, you may want to consider building a separate fence around the pool area and latching it where little hands can't reach.
- Install a Light. A good idea is to install a motion-sensor light. If your child gets outside at night for some reason, his or her movement will trigger the light. This is helpful for neighborhood children also. Plus, if your child does get in the pool, it will be easier to help him or her with adequate light.
- Get CPR Certification. Make sure that every adult in the household, and every child that is old enough, get certified in lifesaving procedures for swimming. Everyone should be able to do CPR and know basic rescue procedure.
- Don't Allow Unsupervised Swimming. Make sure your children understand that they are never allowed to use the pool unless they are supervised. If they are older, you may want to make rules about them using it only when you are home or there is a friend present.
- Have a Life Raft. Make sure you have some kind of flotation device poolside.
- Don't Allow Kids in the Deep End. In our house, the rule was that you could only go as deep as your feet would touch until you were able to do a lap in the pool without a floaty. Stretch a divider between the deep and shallow ends so kids know where they can't cross.
- Make Kids Use Floaties. Kids may hate them, but if your child wants to swim, make sure he or she uses a flotation device.
- Take Swimming Lessons. If you are installing a pool, sign the family up for swimming lessons. Children who start lessons early are usually very adept in the pool. Mom and dad should be able to swim, too. Don't kid yourself: if you have children and you have a pool, you will have to take lessons yourself if you don't know how to swim. Never allow your children in the pool if you can't swim to rescue them.
- Don't Use Glass Poolside. Never have glass around a pool. One shattered glass and you will have to empty the pool, which is costly and frustrating. Glass that gets in the pool collects and moves around the bottom.
- Don't Allow Horseplay. More injuries occur from horseplay than from anything else. Little wet feet running poolside have a tendency to slip, causing bloody gashes and broken bones or rendering kids unconscious in the water.
- Use Sunscreen. Lather your children up with sunscreen. A day in the water can lead to sun poisoning and ghastly burns, so protect your children with a waterproof sunscreen and apply it liberally throughout the day.
Swimming and summertime go hand in hand. By setting a good example and setting strict rules in advance, you can make a pool a wonderful investment and a source of good family fun. So, have fun, and be safe.