Summer is fast approaching, and that means evening BBQs, long nights under the stars, and, of course, plenty of time in the pool.
To ensure that you and your friends and family have the best time together this year, safety is essential. Every year, approximately 390 people die from pool drownings. Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveals that 350 of these incidents involve children under age 5, mostly during the summer months of June – August in backyard pools.
While these statistics can be scary, the good news is that pool drownings and accidents are highly preventable. These six tips will help you protect both children and adults so everyone can have an amazing summer.
Never Leave Children Alone in the Pool
Even if they’re wearing a life jacket or pool floaties, you should never leave children unattended in the pool. Even skilled adult swimmers can accidentally drown at any point, so having someone always watching the pool is the best way to ensure everyone’s safety.
Teaching kids about pool safety from an early age can also help prevent accidental drownings and other injuries. Poolsafety.gov offers free worksheets and educational tools for teaching children about water safety.
Practice “touch supervision” — this means that any child 5 and under is never in the water without an adult, and they are always within touching distance around water. Preferably, you and any other adult supervising swimmers should be CPR-certified.
Get Children Swimming Lessons When They’re Young
The earlier they learn how to swim, the better.
The American Red Cross advises children to begin swimming safety lessons as early as 3. They offer a breakdown of swimming levels and skills by age on their website.
Level 6 is the highest swimming safety level a child can have according to the American Red Cross. Children who begin their swim lessons around age 3 will be able to reach level 6 by age 11 or so.
Use Compliant Drain Covers
Teach children to stay away from drains, and ensure that your pool’s drain covers are VGA-compliant. Adults are also at risk of drowning if a drain is not compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB Act).
This act mandates pool drains to have a curved design that prevents hair or any body parts from getting attached by suction. Anti-entrapment equipment is critical to every swimmer’s safety in pools and hot tubs.
Install Safety Fences
Safety fences can protect children and pets from ever entering the pool when they shouldn’t. Even if everyone is in the backyard having fun, it only takes a few seconds for a child to fall or jump into a pool and drown.
Safety fences for pools should be between 48 to 60-inches tall according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Drowning Prevention Alliance.
Pool fences come in an array of designs and finishes as well, so you can build one that naturally ties into your backyard design.
Get CPR Certification
You can learn CPR online or in-person through the American Red Cross. Getting CPR-certified brings peace of mind and can help you save a life. Anyone who supervises swimmers should know how to intervene during a drowning emergency, what to do if someone slips and falls near a pool, and how to perform CPR on babies, children, and adults.
Perform Routine Pool Maintenance
From loose tiles that cause slips to faulty drains, pool maintenance prevents any hazards from hindering anyone’s safety. You should use a reputable pool company to service your swimming pool regularly throughout the summer.
You should schedule professional pool cleanings at least once a week. Book an inspection before you start swimming for the summer. Reputable pool companies tend to offer seasonal packages that include summer pool prep and weekly cleanings.