We’ve written quite a bit on how to choose the right pool, the right surface, and the right depth. But we haven’t yet talked about the most important consideration of all — making sure your family stays safe in the water. Pool safety might seem simple enough (especially if you’re a good swimmer yourself), but it’s important to keep in mind that accidents in the pool can happen before you know it.
Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one cause of death in American children between the ages of 1-4 is drowning? Or that, on average, 390 children between the ages of 0-14 died in pool drownings between 2011 to 2013?
Almost all of these deaths could have been prevented. Learn how to prevent any pool accidents by following these 10 tried and true pool safety rules:
1. Learn CPR
Pool drownings often occur because no one present during an accident knows how to properly perform CPR. This is unacceptable, as proper CPR certification isn’t difficult to achieve. Even watching a YouTube video on proper CPR techniques could adequately prepare you for a poolside accident. Take a course at your local community center, and get certified. Also, make sure your certification stays up to date - they often expire after just one year.
2. Keep A Phone Nearby At All Times
Even if you do know how to perform CPR, sometimes it might not be enough. And the last thing you should have to do in an emergency is run back into your home just to reach the nearest phone. Always keep a mobile device nearby so you can dial 911 as soon as possible.
3. Make Sure Everyone In Your Family Knows How to Swim
The importance of teaching everyone in your family how to swim cannot be understated. Many families only have one spouse who knows how to swim - the other often either dislikes swimming or is simply not comfortable in the water. Even though the non-swimmer may sit poolside to watch over the children, their vigilance will be in vain if they can’t get to their children in time (or they may even endanger themselves in the process).
4. Stay Within Arm’s Reach At All Times
This goes for adults and children. If you have a bigger pool (over 20 feet long), there’s really no reason for family members to be at opposite ends. Staying within arms’ reach can make a huge difference in case an accident occurs.
5. Don’t Install Underwater Pool Lights
Being electrocuted is a very real danger. While most of us are smart enough not to keep any large electrical devices near a pool, we may be blind to dangers much closer to home. Underwater lights installed in pool surfaces are waterproof — but only to a degree. If you ever notice algae or moss growing at the edges of a light, chances are it’s already suffered water damage.
6. Don’t Install A Diving Board Unless Your Pool Is 8 Feet Deep
Proper pool safety dictates that a diving board can only be installed in a pool if the diving area is at least 8 feet deep. Families who don’t follow this rule put themselves at unnecessary risk.
7. Have Life Vests For Everyone In The Family
One of the simplest ways to encourage pool safety is to purchase a life vest for everyone in the family. Life vests aren’t expensive, but their ability to saves lives is priceless.
8. Place Floaties In The Pool
If life vests seem too limiting, then floaties are your best option. Floaties are very inexpensive, and can be scattered around a pool to encourage safer (and fun) swimming for your kids.
9. Tie Up Long Hair
One of the greatest dangers in any pool is entrapment. Faulty drains can and will cause harm to anyone who gets too close to them. The most common drowning through entrapment occurs when long, untied hair gets snagged in a drain.
10. Install A Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS)
Even if you do tie your hair, it may be safer altogether to install a safety vacuum release system (SVRS). These systems automatically shut off pool drains whenever one of them is blocked. While this solution is less affordable than others, it’s an investment in the safety of your family.