Being a responsible pool owner means prioritizing pool safety. In addition to the four fundamental procedures we discussed in a previous post, you can improve the safety of your pool by considering instituting even more stringent pool-side policies, as recommended by the American Red Cross.
Strengthen Your Barrier
No, any fence covering your entire back yard will not suffice. A 4-sided fence around only the pool area has been shown to be over 80% more effective than a normal 3-sided back yard fence in preventing drowning. Make sure the barrier is at least 4 feet high and has a self-closing, self-latching gate to make it even more effective. When your pool is not in use, make sure you utilize a safety cover over the pool in addition to the fence. A pool alarm can also be placed to provide even more security to the equation. An alarm like this would sound if someone entered your pool.
Supervision with Security
In addition to close monitoring of small children, the Red Cross recommends enforcing a policy that no one is allowed to swim alone, regardless of age or skill (or without another person in the pool area). Another idea is that everyone who isn’t a strong swimmer be required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Maintain Your Pool With Care
Pool care has a safety aspect to it that you may not be aware of. A dirty pool will not cause drowning, but it can cause rashes and earaches. Monitor and maintain proper chemical levels and filtering systems to keep the water clean and clear. Clear water will also permit any adults who are lifeguarding to more easily view the bottom of the pool.
Post the Rules & Practice Them
The more times a person is exposed to a set of expected behavioral norms, the more likely they are to remember them. You might even create or order online a custom, permanent sign displaying your pool policies on it. In addition to the previously listed safety precautions, here are some fundamentals:
- No Diving
- Whenever You Are in the Pool Area, Please Walk
- Leave Drain Covers Alone
If your children are pre-readers, have them read the rules aloud (or repeat them after you). Rules are only useful if people believe they will be followed. When introducing the rules, make sure to spell out the penalties. (Perhaps a period of time away from the pool for a first offense would be fair.)
Be Well-Prepared & Trained
Of course, no matter how many policies you implement, dangers will always exist. Have safety equipment on hand and immediately accessible in case of an aquatic emergency so you can be proactive and ready to respond. The Red Cross offers CPR, first aid, and water safety lessons, as well as the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Home Pool Essentials course.
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