For every pool owner, pool safety ought to come first. This is particularly valid for people who are parents. It’s crucial to take extra care to keep kids safe near pools, just as you would if you were childproofing your house, covering any wall electrical outlets, and installing baby gates to prevent falls down stairs.
Consider Pool Safety Carefully
Even though it might seem like a depressing subject to talk about, child drowning deaths happen frequently. According to CDC statistics, children between the ages of one and 14 years old who die from accidental injuries most often die from drowning. Because of this awful truth, pool owners should be much more careful to set up safety guidelines for their pools and take additional precautions to keep children & teenagers from drowning. In this article, we’ll provide some fundamental rules that pool owners should always remember in order to keep children around the pool as safe as possible.
1. Always Enforce Adult Supervision
Never allow a child to swim in or even be close to your pool without the constant supervision of an adult. Additionally, you must understand the kind of supervision required for kids of various ages and skill levels. A youngster should always be closely observed when they are in the water, even if they will become better swimmers as they get older and more experienced. This implies that you must assign an adult to be in charge of keeping a close eye on children when they are in the water.
Tragedies involving drowning are significantly more likely to happen when children aren’t being watched carefully when they swim. Let’s examine the various age groups of children and the appropriate level of supervision required to ensure their safety in the pool.
Toddlers Need Individualized & Close Supervision
Toddlers should always be watched closely when they are in the water since they lack established motor skills, communication skills, and thinking abilities. Observing them from the comfort of a deck lounge chair alongside the pool is insufficient. A child of this age should always be within arm’s reach of an adult when the child is in the water. It is unsafe to leave toddlers unsupervised in even kiddie pools since they can still drown in shallow water which is just a couple inches deep.
It is imperative to restrict toddlers’ access to the pool. Youngsters of this age are notorious for trying to creep into places where they shouldn’t be and for moving quite swiftly. Make sure there are safeguards in place if you have a pool with young children in the vicinity so they can’t get into the water unnoticed.
Elementary School Aged Children Should Still Be Closely Monitored
Your approach to supervising kids in the water will also change as your kids grow and develop. While younger children must always remain within an arm’s reach, primary school children are allowed to more freely move around the pool, such as playing “Marco Polo” throughout the pool and swimming and splashing as much as they like.
It is imperative that kids are never permitted to enter the water in the absence of any adult supervision. Even if your child excels in swimming and is a champion member of their local swim team, you should still supervise them closely while they are in the water. This is due to a child’s tendency to exhibit immature decision-making as well as due to their stage of physical development. When they become too tired, they might decide to stay in the water, or they might attempt risky maneuvers like holding their breath for an extended amount of time underwater. To make sure they’re safe, you or another adult who has been recognized as responsible can watch over them.
Make sure your children’s friends are aware that they are not even permitted to enter the pool area (including the deck around the pool) unattended by an adult when they are staying over.
Adolescents Can Use the Buddy System
When teenagers reach early adolescence or early adulthood, you can tell when they’re ready to transition from being constantly watched over to having greater freedom. However, contrary to some opinions circulating around the web, allowing teenagers to swim alone is not a smart idea, even as they get older. This is due to the fact that swimming alone greatly increases the likelihood of an unplanned tragedy. Even grownups will find this information to be beneficial: never ever swim alone.
Having a conversation with teenagers about safe and risky choices is also crucial. Careless acts such as diving into shallow water have left a number of young individuals paraplegic. While drugs and alcohol are dangerous on their own, they have far greater potential for injury and even death when used in conjunction with swimming pools. These drugs may impair judgment, reduce agility, and increase the risk that teens and young adults will pass out and then drown in the pool.
When you have this conversation with your teenagers, don’t sugarcoat anything. They must be genuinely afraid of the water. So go ahead and show them news articles of people who drowned while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Distracted Adults Aren’t Actually Supervising
It should go without saying that an adult isn’t actually overseeing the pool if they are absorbed in a book, magazine, or cell phone. That’s why it makes sense to assign one particular adult to be the pool watcher at any given moment in time, whether it’s for a large neighborhood pool party or simply the family for an afternoon swim. This individual should assume full responsibility for maintaining constant visual contact with the swimmers. Whenever there is another responsible adult available, switch off roughly every 30 minutes so each “pool watcher” will stay freshly alert.
2. Properly Leverage Barriers for Your Pool
One of the most important aspects of pool safety is watching children closely when they’re supposed to be in the water. However, what safety measures can you take to ensure your kids stay out when they are not supposed to be in the pool? Leveraging a combination of pool barriers is the best method to accomplish this. That is the second safety precaution on our list of fundamentals for pool safety.
Select the Type of Barrier
Selecting the barrier that will work best for your pool is the first step. Pool covers and pool fences are the two most popular barriers that homeowners use to keep their pools safe. Whichever option you select will rely on your financial situation, tastes, and individual requirements.
Demand High-Quality Products
Regardless of whether you want to use a pool fence or a pool cover, you should search for one that has an ASTM International label on it, which certifies that it complies with the high requirements set by this reputable organization.
The American Society for Testing and Materials is known by its acronym, ASTM. Although this organization was founded in the U.S. in 1898 to aid in the standardization of steel used in the railroad sector, it is now widely acknowledged as the preferred standard classification organization in a wide range of global businesses. This would encompass the industry of pool barriers.
For the purpose of assessing the safety of various items, such as pool safety covers and fences, ASTM International assembles teams of testing laboratory technicians, which consists of representatives from the government and industry, customers, and retailers. They are regarded as being so trustworthy that numerous state and federal codes in the U.S. make reference to them.
Understand the Requirements for Pool Safety Covers
A pool cover must meet a number of requirements in order to be ASTM compliant, including sufficient surface drainage, appropriate entrapment prevention between the safety cover and the side perimeter of the pool, warranty labels and warnings posted on the product, and the capacity to support at least 485 pounds of weight in order to facilitate a rescue. Each product in these categories must pass extensive testing before the label “ASTM International compliant pool safety cover” is applied.
Understand Pool Fence Standards
A pool fence needs to include a self-closing and latching mechanism on the outside of the gate in order to be deemed ASTM International compliant. The minimum height required for this latch is 54″. Any feature, such as an indentation or bump, that might allow a child’s hand to grip or foot to stand on it must be fully removed from the fence. A four-inch spherical must not be able to fit through the space between two slats. The fence itself must be higher than 48 inches and must not be higher than one inch from the ground.
The barrier needs to be positioned so that the pool is at least 20 inches away from the clear zone. The gate needs to be movable and swing outward rather than toward the swimming pool. These guidelines were developed following extensive research to make the fence as challenging for kids to climb or breach as feasible.
There are a few more crucial points we must address before we leave the subject of barriers. No matter how nice of a pool safety cover or fence you buy initially, if you don’t utilize and maintain it correctly, it won’t work.
Keep Your Pool Fence & Safety Cover in Good Condition
Maintaining these barriers is important, regardless of whether you choose to go with a pool safety cover, a pool fence, or both. A product that is worn out or fitted incorrectly might not offer enough protection. When you see signs of deterioration on your fence or pool cover, it’s time to get them fixed or to replace them. Make sure these barriers are still in excellent operating order by giving them a routine inspection.
Follow Manufacturer Recommendations
Why would you purchase a safety product that you will never use? If you were a parent, you wouldn’t leave your child safety seat in the garage after taking the time to learn about its safety features and evaluating the options provided by several brands. You wouldn’t be protecting your child and your purchase would be a waste of money. The same applies if you don’t use your pool safety obstacles the way they were designed to be used.
When you are not near the pool, always make sure your pool safety cover is on. Verify that the gate on your pool fence is locked firmly. Don’t become overly comfortable thinking that these barriers are an infallible way to keep children and pets out of the pool, either. You ought to continue to monitor your pool area closely. Even if obstacles are an excellent deterrent, a motivated child can nevertheless attempt to get around them. Thus, always remain vigilant!
This brings up our last subject for discussion regarding the fundamentals of backyard swimming pool safety: swimming instruction. Even with your best efforts to keep responsible adults watching over those in the pool and to leverage barriers to prevent anyone from accessing the pool area without permission, it’s possible for a child to still get into the pool unsupervised. As a result, it is crucial to start teaching kids how to swim at a young age.
3. Enroll Children in Expert Swimming Programs
Certain children appear to pick up swimming quickly, as though they were meant to be in the water. Some children on the other hand don’t want to get wet and appear to have an innate fear of the water. When your child is old enough, enroll them in swimming lessons, regardless of where they fall on the like/dislike water spectrum or even if they’re in the middle. Depending on your child’s developmental stage, there are differences in the ideal age to begin swimming lessons. Depending on where you live, there might even be classes available for young toddlers.
Swimming lessons have several advantages. As kids become increasingly proficient in the water, they gain greater confidence. Swimming lessons can also help dispel some of the mystery surrounding the water that some kids have, which could lead them to take unnecessary chances. In line with this, a word of caution is required. It’s possible for some children who have taken swimming lessons and are very comfortable in the water to assume that they no longer require adult supervision when they’re in the pool. Make sure your children understand that they still need adult supervision when swimming, even after they have mastered advanced swim lessons!
4. Register for a CPR Course
There’s always a chance that anything might go wrong in your pool, even with all these safety measures in place. If you take the time to become certified in CPR, you’ll be ready when it happens. Your readiness to assist could end up saving a life!
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