Water safety is always important, whether you’re dealing with children or adults. A little bit of knowledge and a fair bit of precaution can prevent poolside accidents and potentially save lives. To help celebrate National Water Safety Month, here are a few tips from some pool safety advocates:
Tips from the International Swimming Hall of Fame
- Post CPR instructions in a conspicuous location in the pool area, and learn the procedures.
- Make sure to inform babysitters about water safety, emphasizing the importance of constant supervision.
- During social gatherings at/near pools, appoint a designated watcher to keep an eye on children present.
- Flotation devices do not serve as a replacement for supervision.
- Do not leave toys or other objects near the pool that might draw a child’s attention.
- If a child is missing, check the pool first; drowning is a silent death, and there may be no warning signs.
- In the event of a potential drowning, do not wait for paramedics. Four to six minutes of oxygen deprivation can cause permanent brain damage or death.
- Install a poolside phone with emergency numbers on speed-dial.
- Do not prop gates leading to pool areas open unless the pool is being supervised.
- Do not leave furniture near pool fencing, as children may use it to climb over.
- Keep a first aid kit and rescue equipment poolside.
Also, some helpful hints from the Pool Safety “Simple Steps Save Lives” Program
1. Stay close and be alert when watching chidren in and around the pool
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool/spa area, whether they are in or near the water.
- Give children basic water safety tips so they can prevent incidents themselves.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings that may cause entrapment.
2. Learn and practice water safety skills actively
- Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim, even if only a few basic yet practical skills.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Update that knowledge regularly.
- Understand the basics of life-saving so you can assist in the event of a pool emergency.
3. Maintain appropriate pool/spa equipment
- Install four foot or taller self-closing and self-latching gates around your pool or spa, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
- Install a lockable safety cover on your spa.
- If your house is the fourth side of a fence around your pool, install door/gate alarms and always use them. Additionally, install window guards on pool-facing windows.
- Make sure your pool or spa has compliant drain covers.
- Consider making use of a surface wave or underwater alarm.