One of the quickest ways to become the most popular parents on the block is to install a swimming pool in your backyard. Guaranteeing hours of fun through the dog days of summer, pools are the centerpiece of a great backyard bash and a delight for all ages. There are, however, a few safety concerns that parents should acknowledge before opening their new oasis to the public; here are ten of the most important:
- Fencing and Gates – Whether you opt for an in-ground or above-ground model, your new swimming pool should be surrounded by a tall fence, ideally with the only entrance originating within your home. If you do decide to install a gate, it should be designed to only open from the inside to prevent wandering neighborhood children from slipping in while you’re away and swimming without supervision.
- Swimming and Water Safety Courses – Kids should attend swimming and water safety courses, or at the very least be thoroughly instructed by parents about appropriate pool-safe behavior before being allowed to swim. Strong swimming skills can save lives in the event of an accidental fall.
- Insist on Supervision – Young children should always be supervised while in or around the pool, even if they’re strong swimmers. Unattended, children can engage in risky behaviors that could lead to severe injury or even drowning.
- Ban Horseplay – Running and rough housing should be strictly forbidden in the pool area, as water can render even wooden surfaces slippery. Even relatively mild head injuries can result in momentary loss of consciousness, which could be deadly if the child falls into the pool and is unable to swim to the surface.
- Drain Entrapment – Kids and adults alike can potentially find their hair, clothing or limbs ensnared in a pool drain that is lacking a VGB-compliant drain cover. After installation drain covers should be checked regularly for damage.
- Emergency Preparedness – CPR and first aid training is a good idea for all families, even those that don’t own swimming pools. For those that do, this training becomes essential; check with your local Red Cross for open classes to ensure that everyone is as prepared as possible for any emergencies that may arise before your pool officially opens.
- Electrocution – Any electrical appliances, including radios and stereos, should be positioned far from the pool’s edge to reduce the risk of electrocution. If possible, invest in battery-powered radios or MP3 player docks and keep all electrically-operated components clear of the pool area altogether.
- Lighting – Your pool area should be well lit, with motion-detecting security lights positioned to illuminate the area if it’s approached. Kids shouldn’t swim at night, but there does need to be enough light to prevent injuries from lowered visibility should someone in the family need to enter the pool area after dark.
- Toddlers – Families with toddler or preschool-aged children should be especially vigilant, perhaps even considering surface alarms that will sound if a body enters the pool. Small children are fascinated with water, and can slip away into the pool area unnoticed which could result in tragedy.
- Dive Safety – Kids should be instructed on proper diving techniques, and taught never to dive into the shallow end or into an above-ground pool that isn’t deep enough to prevent head and neck injury.
With the proper safety measures, your swimming pool will be a joy for every member of your family for many years to come. Take the needs of your family into consideration and personalize your safety features accordingly to enjoy your new pool without incident.
Thank you Emma Roberts and www.summernanny.com
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