Pools have a reputation for being all about fun, but we often overlook the potential danger. In only 20 seconds, a child can drown! Most of us, me included, know someone who has died in a drowning accident. The pain caused by that type of untimely death is almost unbearable. As parents, it is vital that we take the necessary precautions. Here are 5 important tips for pool safety:
1. Parent Supervision
Proactive observation is the number one way to prevent drownings. That means sitting close to the pool with your full attention on the child—not talking on the phone, reading, texting, or doing anything that distracts. Make sure to do regular headcounts and step in if playtime gets too rowdy. If you’re in a group, it can be helpful to designate a Water Watcher, and change shifts every 15 minutes.
Supervision is critical, but it unfortunately can and does fail, which is why additional layers of protection are needed.
2. High locks on doors and windows
Locks installed up high and out of the reach of children should be on every door and window that leads to the pool area. Some drownings happen because a parent didn’t know their child had figured out the door knob, so don’t rely on the door being shut. Any pet doors that grant access to the pool should also be shut securely.
3. Safety Fence
Many cities and towns mandate fences with good reason. Even if yours doesn’t require it, the peace of mind provided by installing a fence is priceless. Fences should be at least 4 feet tall and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Mesh pool safety fences, like Life Saver Pool Fence, have proven to be extremely effective.
Unlike what movies show with kids screaming for help and thrashing in the water, most drownings tend to be silent. Alarms break that silence. There are many alarm options to choose from—door/window alarms, alarms that sit in the pool, and one worn directly on the child.
5. Swimming Lessons
As soon parents and pediatricians feel comfortable, a child should receive swimming lessons. There is no “magic age” to start, and truly, the younger the better! Some organizations even offer training for infants. Check what’s available in your local area. In my family, everyone knows how to swim, started young, and has no fear of the water.
While these 5 tips can help to prevent most tragedies, there is no method that will stop 100% of them. Knowing CPR can be a big benefit if something awful does occur and it’s easy to get trained. CPR classes are held around the country, often for free. Ones that do charge have a nominal fee that’s worth every penny.