For many people, there is nothing better than a backyard pool in their home. It provides months’ worth of fun, is the perfect place to gather for parties and get-togethers, and it can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. There is usually a lot of thought that goes into the design of the pool, and the budget, but what about pool safety?
While a pool is a great source of fun, it can also be the perfect place for accidents to occur if proper safety measures aren’t taken. Beyond just the permanent measures you take in place, there should also be discussions held with family members about the importance of pool safety, and even formal training so that everyone is prepared for an emergency, should it occur.
Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death? It is estimated that there are about 360,000 drowning deaths each year around the world. In the United States, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for kids aged one through 14.
What this means is that building a pool brings with it a number of responsibilities on the entire family’s part to ensure that the backyard is a safe and fun environment to spend your time. Here’s a look at the main measures you can take that will help to keep the backyard safe for everyone.
Invest in Swimming Lessons for All in the House
As soon as you decide that you want to go ahead and install either an in-ground pool or one that’s above ground in your backyard, this should be the time to enroll in swimming lessons. Swimming lessons can literally end up saving someone’s life. No, you don’t have to become an Olympic swimmer, but each person should know the basics of swimming and how to tread water.
Kids should be taught not just how to swim but pool safety as well. This includes such things as what to do if they accidentally fall into the water, how to get themselves out of the pool without a ladder or stairs, and what they should do if there is an adult in the pool who needs help.
Make Sure the Pool Has Barriers
Sure, it would be nice to step into a backyard that is all open to the pool, but the fact is that this isn’t always safe and it may even be illegal. Proper barriers, pool covers or pool enclosures, gates, and even an alarm should be installed, not just on your pool but also a hot tub/spa if you have one. What this means is that no-one will be getting into the pool unnoticed and without proper supervision.
Kids Need Supervision
No matter how strong a swimmer your child may be, and how comfortable they are in the water, kids should never be left alone in the pool or even near the pool. There should be adult supervision at all times. Emergencies can happen in a split second, and if there isn’t someone there to react immediately then things could end up being tragic.
Experts recommend that one adult is designated as the “Water Watcher” at all times. If they need to step away for a moment, then another adult should take over. Watching the kids in the pool should be their only job and they shouldn’t be distracted.
Have a Phone in the Backyard
Another tip is to install a cordless phone in your backyard and keep it poolside. The phone isn’t meant for socializing while you swim. Instead, it’s meant for emergencies and can save valuable time in those situations.
Use Non-Slip Pathways Around the Pool
This particular tip refers to those who are building an in-ground pool. Because there will be lots of water splashing out of the pool, the path/walkway around the perimeter can get extremely slippery. Everyone needs to follow the “no running around the pool” rule, but even so, accidents can happen. It’s a good idea to use non-slip materials on the pathway, which will dramatically cut down on the number of falls.
Discuss Diving Safety
A big part of the fun in owning a pool is jumping in, creating that massive splash, and really getting the true experience. With that said, there should be discussions and rules in place regarding diving. Make sure that your pool is actually deep enough for safe diving. Pools that don’t have a deep end, aren’t safe enough for diving. Above-ground pools are never going to be deep enough, so you can scratch that right off.
Diving is something that needs to be done in a safe manner so that the person doesn’t bump their head on the bottom of the pool, the side, or run into an object or person floating in the pool.
There is Nothing Wrong with Lifejackets
For parents, it’s a good idea to encourage the use of life jackets in the pool. They won’t prevent the kids from having fun, but they will ensure that they are safe at all times. This especially applies to young children who are just learning how to swim and are just beginning to get comfortable in the water.
Now keep in mind that this life jacket shouldn’t just be worn in the pool but also while they are near the water. If they don’t need it on at all times, you can at least have it within an arm’s reach at the pool’s side. There are different types/styles of life jackets out there meant for different activities. Be sure to get qualified advice when shopping so that it’s the right type and right size for your child.
Learn How to Save a Life
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when it comes to pool safety is learning how to save a life. Learning how to properly perform CPR on both adults and children can literally be a life-saving choice. You will know what to do until the emergency medical first responders arrive. The best way to learn CPR is to visit the National CPR Foundation website and locate courses in your town or city.
The CPR Foundation offers certification courses for all in the United States, Canada, and around the world. What’s great is that if you don’t want to attend a course in person, you can do one online through video demonstrations. They offer a variety of courses so you can pick that one suits your own personal needs. The Standard – CPR/AED course will teach people how to perform CPR on adults and kids.
Once you take the exam and become certified, this certification will last for two years. At that point, you will need to take a course again, which acts as a good refresher keeping you up to date on the lifesaving skill of CPR.
Don’t forget, once you become trained in CPR, this is a skill that can be used in other places besides your backyard. You never know when the day may come where your skills will be called upon to save a life.
Create a Welcoming and Safe Environment
By following each of these tips and measures, you will be helping to make sure that your backyard is a source of fun and fabulous memories, and that everyone is being kept as safe as possible when it comes to the pool. A pool is a great feature to add to the backyard and will offer years’ worth of fun, but it’s also a very big responsibility and one that should be taken very seriously.