Swimming is the perfect way to beat the summer heat! While the pool is a great place to relax and unwind, it is important to be aware of the hazards of swimming, and the safe ways those hazards can be addressed. The CDC reports that there are more than 3,000 drowning accidents, unrelated to boating, that occur each year. To keep the pool safe and fun for everyone, consider these eight safety tips.
- Follow state and local ordinances regulating swimming pool installation. Since 2004, the Pennsylvania Statewide Building Code requires that all in ground pools be fenced in on all sides, with a structure at least 48 inches high. For in ground pools, all fence gates must be self closing and latching. Above ground pools must have a ladder that can be removed or locked when the pool is not in use.
- Supervise children in the pool at ALL times. According to the CDC, children ages 1-14 are most at risk for fatal drowning. Drowning is a silent event. Someone needs to be present at the pool to watch for signs of distress. If you have to leave the pool area, be sure to designate a responsible person to watch the children.
- Make sure that everyone in the family, as well as guests, are familiar with the pool rules. Enforce the rules when they are broken.
- Create procedures for aquatic emergencies, and be sure that everyone in the household knows what those procedures are. Someone on the property should know how to perform CPR in the case of an emergency. Be sure to have the proper safety equipment and first aid kit within reach of the pool area.
- Does everyone in the household know how to swim? If they don’t, consider enrolling your family in swim lessons. People who are inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest.
- Swim with a buddy. Drowning is not only a safety issue for kids. Even as an adult, you should never swim alone.
- The pool should be properly maintained. The pool water should be clean. To minimize the risk for illness, check pool chemical levels regularly.
- When the pool is not in use, consider putting a safety cover over the pool. Clean up toys and tripping hazards around the pool area at the end of every day, and if necessary, sterilize the pool area after each use. Before you leave, be sure to lock the gate.