The hot days have arrived and one of the best feelings is enjoying a nice pool. But the pleasure of swimming also comes with risks, especially for children. Below are some tips from HealthyChildren.org to help make sure you are practicing pool safety.
Fences are good for above-ground (portable or permanent), inground pools, and even hot tubs.
Here are some different pool fence recommendations:
- 4 feet, 4 sides. The pool fence should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround the pool, separating it from the house and the rest of the yard.
- Climb-proof. The fence shouldn’t have any footholds, handholds, or objects such as lawn furniture or play equipment the child could use to climb over the fence. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. (If they are used, make sure openings are 1¾ inches or smaller in size).
- Slat space. To ensure a small child can’t squeeze through the fence, make sure vertical slats have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep small pets safe, too.
- Latch height. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that only opens out, away from the pool area. The latch should be out of a child’s reach—at least 54 inches from the ground.
- Gate locked, toy-free. When the pool is not in use, make sure the gate is locked. Keep toys out of the pool area when it is not in use.
Pool Alarm – A drowning child is rarely heard
Besides a fence, you can add additional protection such as a pool alarm or gate and door alarms.
- Pool alarms. Children can drown within seconds, with barely a splash. Swimming pool alarms can detect waves on the water’s surface and sound off to attract attention when someone has fallen into the pool.
- Consider alarms on the pool fence gate and house doors. Door and gate alarms can be equipped with touchpads to let adults pass through without setting them off. House doors should be locked if a child could get to the pool through them.
- Window guards. These can be especially helpful for windows on the house that face the pool.
What Else Can You Do
Even with fences and alarms, you should take some additional precautions.
Here are some that may help:
- Assign a water watcher. His or her job is to watch all children swimming or playing in or NEAR water―such as on a backyard swing set―even if they know how to swim. This person should:
- not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- put down his or her cell phone
- avoid other activities
- supervise even if there are lifeguards
- switch off with another adult for breaks
- Life jackets: Put your child in a properly fitted US Coast Guard approved life jacket when around or near water, such as when visiting a home with a pool.
- Swim lessons. The AAP recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1. Learn more here.
- CPR training. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should know CPR and how to get emergency help. Keep equipment approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, such as life preservers and life jackets at poolside.
- Check the water first. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first. This is especially important if your child is prone to wandering.
Even though this list does not include the thousands of possible recommendations for pool safety, we hope it will remind you to stay vigilant around the pool. Knowing you have done everything you can do to keep everyone safe, remember to enjoy and have fun!