Swimming in the backyard pool is one of those things that many kids (and adults) look forward to during the long days of winter. At the first hint of warmer weather most kids are eager to jump in. However, while outdoor swimming may be a seasonal thing, making sure you have a safe pool is a year-round job!
As parents, we know that keeping our kids safe is one of our most important jobs. We also know how easy it it for those little safety violations to be overlooked with the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to-do lists! Here at Sea Otter we are committed to teaching your kids how to swim, but we also want to be a safety resource.
Gates, Fences, and Barriers, Oh My!
The best way to keep kids safer around the pool is to make sure there is an adequate barrier around the pool at all times. Taking your eyes off of a child for just a few seconds to answer the phone, check an email, or answer the door is all it can take for an accident to happen. A permanent gate, removable mesh fence, pool cover, or pool net are all great at preventing kids from getting into the water unsupervised. Automated pool covers are a great investment as they are quick and easy, but it is important to keep them working properly because a pool cover that is broken is just as dangerous as an unprotected pool! While it may be a bit obvious, it’s also important to make sure that no one is hiding out in the water before putting the cover on so nobody gets accidentally trapped underneath.
Pools are Friends, not Foes!
Making sure your child is comfortable in the pool is very important. Children can often develop fears of pool elements like the lights, jets, filters, the deep end, steep walls, fake rocks and waterfalls. These fears cause panic in the event of a fall and can cause kids not to move toward the pool wall if they were to accidentally fall into the pool.
Once a barrier has been installed, and children are familiar with the pool, there are other things to take into consideration as well. Here are some things that should be checked each time people will be around the pool:
Make sure the walkway around the pool area is clear of tripping hazards which can cause an injury or a fall into the pool. Make sure that pool drains are on properly and are not cracked. Missing or broken pool drains can cause drowning and/or serious bodily harm as the suction can be very forceful and can cause people to become entrapped.
Okay! Everybody Out of the Pool!
After an afternoon in the pool, everyone (probably including mom and dad) is ready to relax and maybe even take a nap. Before you sit down, take the time to do a quick walk through of the pool area to ensure safety later. Here are a few things to look for:
Make sure toys and rafts are out of the pool. These are items kids may try to reach for later and fall into the pool. Look for items near the pool gate like chairs, tables, etc. that kids can stand on to climb over or unlatch the pool gate.
We know that swimming is a ton of fun, but talking about pool safety, maybe not so much! However, taking the time to install a gate, and checking a few things before and after your swim can be a lifesaver! Keeping your pool and pool area safe is the first step to safer swimming. For more tips and ideas to keep safe around the pool take a look at this video from The National Drowning Prevention Alliance.