Owning a pool is a major responsibility. It only takes a moment for a child to get outside, fall in and drown.

Want to make your pool area safer? Take the following pool precautions to protect your children and any other kids that might visit your home.

Know Where Your Kids Are

The most important thing, for any pool owner, is to know where any kids in the house are at ALL times. If a child goes missing, run outside and check the pool area first thing!

The majority of children that drown in backyard pools do so while their parents are inside, unaware that their child has ventured outdoors.

When young kids are in the pool, have a responsible adult in the water with them the ENTIRE time (within arms reach), even if they’re just on the steps.

Many parents think that a 3 or 4 year old won’t drown in very shallow water, but if a child falls or tips over and gets a mouthful of water they can panic, taking on more water and making it worse.

Put safety float vests on little ones if they are even near the water. And be sure to teach your kids to swim as soon as they are old enough, which is usually after age 4.  

Secure Your Pool Area

Protect your pool or hot tub area on all four sides with a fence that is at least 4 or 5 feet high (called isolation fencing). This will prevent direct access to the pool if your children, or any kids in the neighborhood really, get outside.

Be sure the fence is tough for little ones to climb, and that there isn’t any furniture near it that they could use to climb up and over.  

Also, make sure the gate leading to your pool is self-closing, self-latching, and opens outward. The latch should be high, so little kids can’t reach it.  

Also, check the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground. You want it to be less than 4 inches so that a small determined child can’t shimmy under it.  

You can also set up locks and alarms on any doors, gates, etc. that lead to the pool area. This way you’ll hear anytime someone goes inside the pool fence.

Another thing to consider is investing in a sonar device that goes off if something falls into the water, or a floating alarm that goes off if the water moves.

Another good investment is a rigid safety cover (preferably motorized) that you can use to cover the water when you’re not actively using the pool.

If you’ve got an above-ground pool, take down the ladders when you’re not using it so kids can’t climb in. Don’t leave toys lying around the pool area because they tempt small children to go outside or get too close to the water.

Watch Out For Drains

An item to be especially careful about are pool or hot tub drains.

Children can and have died when they get sucked down under water and trapped by a drain.

Make sure that your pool and/or hot tub has an anti-entrapment drain cover.  

Also, it should have more than one drain for each pump which reduces the suction if one drain gets blocked. Single-drain pools should have a safety vacuum-release system which will automatically stop the suction if a drain gets blocked.

Watch out for long hair, loose swimsuits, drawstrings, or anything that can get stuck in the drain and pull a child down with it. Tie long hair back, or use a swim cap.

Teach children to avoid the drains, be sure they don’t play on or near them.

Be Prepared For Emergencies

Finally, be prepared and know what you will do in case a pool emergency does happen.

Keep a phone near the pool so you can quickly dial 911. Make sure you, and any other adults that might be watching kids in the water, are well-versed in CPR.

If a child falls in, pull them out quickly, call 911, and start CPR right away (before EMTs arrive). Make sure all the adults in your house know this drill.

Taking precautions like this can ensure that everyone has a fun, safe poolside experience!

 

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