Six safety tips for pool swimming
Having your own pool can be an amazing way to relax and spend time outside in the summer, but it can also be a source of legitimate worry without the proper precautions.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4—but drownings certainly don’t just impact children. Being prepared in the face of emergency and avoiding unnecessary risk described in the list below can help prevent these tragic and unexpected deaths.
Perhaps the most important pool safety rule is to never swim alone. No matter what your age or level of swimming skills might be, the risk of death from drowning is exponentially higher if no one else is present.
Keep an eye on children:
Never leave children unattended near the pool. Not even to look at your phone for fifteen seconds. Not even to go inside and grab a glass of water. It only takes one glance away for a child to drown. When children are in the pool, at least one person at all times should be designated as a watcher to ensure they stay safe.
Having a watcher is generally a good idea no matter the age group of those using the pool. It’s important to make sure that the watcher is totally sober and that everyone swimming is sober, too. Being disoriented and dizzy from alcohol in the water is an extremely dangerous situation that is totally preventable by not mixing excessive drinking and swimming. This also helps avoid having glass on the pool deck, where it can easily shatter and get stuck as people walk around without shoes.
Children should take swimming lessons as soon as they are able. Your local YMCA, USA Swimming Chapter or Parks and Recreation Development may offer discounts or free lessons. If you have a pool on your property, it is critical for your entire family to be able to swim.
Get proper training:
It’s a smart idea to get everyone in your family CPR and first aid training in case an emergency does arise. Red Cross frequently offers local classes which can be located using their website. Regularly refresh your knowledge by taking classes again at least every two years to make sure you’re ready to perform CPR if the need arises. Keeping rescue equipment, such as a lifebuoy, rescue buoy, torpedo buoy or rescue tube nearby is critical in minimizing the time it will take to save someone who is drowning.
Watch the weather:
Pay attention to the weather. If you feel or see any rain, thunder or lightning, go inside immediately. Being in or even near water during a storm is not a risk worth taking. On the other hand, if the sun is too strong for too long without cloud cover, take breaks and go inside. Sunburn already poses the risks of sensitive, peeling skin and potentially even skin cancer, but too much sun exposure also threatens dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and fainting, which are exceptionally unsafe in or around a pool. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses or a hat and take breaks in the shade or inside to prevent harm caused by the sun.
Maintain pool rules:
Making a list of your essential pool safety rules and posting a physical sign on the gate can help remind everyone of what behaviors should be avoided. Enforce the rules, even for your guests or other family members, to assert the importance of safety in the pool.
Build with safety in mind:
Contacting your municipality for a list of all residential pool requirements is a great way to start the summer season and ensure your pool is up to date on safety requirements.
Ensure that all drains have compliant covers that are functioning properly without any breaks or malfunctions since many child drowning deaths every year are due to children getting caught in pool drains. Having a power safety pool cover in good working order can also decrease the likelihood of accidental drowning.
Your pool should ideally have a four-sided fence that is at least four feet in height around the pool, isolated from your house, to reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 83%. If this is not an option, though, and the house makes up one of the four sides, make sure locks are in use on the doors, windows or gates leading out to the pool. Consider installing an alarm on the door that sounds noticeably different from any others in your house so you can quickly respond if a child gets out when you’re not watching.
Pools can influence your insurance cost and coverage because they are considered “attractive nuisances” that can intrigue and potentially endanger children. Talk to your independent insurance agent about how your pool impacts your homeowners insurance policy and how you can best stay protected.