With summer here so many southern Californians seek refuge from the heat in their backyard or community pools. We all want a great experience at the pool and know pool safety is a concern on all of our minds, so we’ve put together an informative blog on the subject.
Pool and spa submersions and drownings happen quickly, especially when they involve children. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a telephone. Be alert to the hazards of drownings, non-fatal submersion injuries and drain entrapments—and how to prevent them.
Adding as many water safety steps as possible is the best way to assure a safe and fun experience in a residential swimming pool or spa. Parents and families can build on their current safety practices by adopting water safety steps at home pools and spas.
An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach, providing “touch supervision.” For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions, like talking on the phone, socializing, tending household chores, or drinking alcohol. The supervising adult must know how to swim.
If you have a pool, insist that the following rules are followed:
- Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
- Empty blow-up pools after each use.
- No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
- No electrical appliances near the pool.
- No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
- No running on the pool deck.
- Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa
- Teach children basic water safety tips
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
- Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa
- If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
- Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
Children can climb out a window, though a doggy door, or sneak out a door to get to the back yard and the pool. To prevent small children from entering the pool area on their own, there should be a fence that completely surrounds the pool or spa. Combined with the watchful eyes of an adult, a fence is the best way to protect your child and other children who may visit or live nearby.
Pool fences should also:
- Be climb-resistant and should not have anything alongside it (such as lawn furniture) that can be used to climb it.
- Be at least 4 feet high and have no footholds or handholds that could help a child climb it.
- Have no more than 4 inches between vertical slats. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. If they must be used, the diamond shape should not be bigger than 1¾ inches.
- Have a gate that is well maintained and is self-closing and self-latching. It should only open away from the pool. The latches should be higher than a child can reach – 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.
- For above-ground pools always keep children away from steps or ladders. When the pool is not in use, lock or remove the ladders to prevent access by children(Source: healthy children.org).
Pool safely means adopting critical water safety steps to assure that a great afternoon at the pool doesn’t turn into a tragic one. Whether at a residential or public pool or spa, everyone can always take additional steps to be safe while having fun!