With summer already here, your pool will probably get more use. Keeping everyone safe while they cool have and have fun in your pool should be made a priority. Use these tips to make your pool safer this summer.
Nothing says summer like splashing around in the pool. But while a backyard pool can be the source of many wonderful family memories, it can also pose a hazard to your children or any children who live nearby. That’s why pool safety is so important.
As a responsible homeowner, you should take steps to keep kids away from your pool when you’re not there to supervise their swimming session. Follow these tips to help keep your pool safe all season long – you can never be too careful when it comes to kids around water.
1. Put Up a Fence Around Your Pool Area
If you have young children at home, you need to be extra cautious to keep them safe from the drowning hazard a pool can present. You should supervise your kids at all times, especially when they’re in and around the pool area. Putting up an isolation fence is a great way to keep your kids from getting into the pool or hot tub behind your back.
A good isolation fence is at least four feet high and surrounds both the pool and the spa, if you have one. It shouldn’t have any protrusions that make it easy for kids to climb over, nor should it have any gaps or openings that kids can squeeze through. Gates should have child-safe latches that are high enough that kids can’t reach them. The gap under the bottom of the fence should be less than four inches high.
Even if you don’t have kids at home, an isolation fence around your pool and hot tub can save the life of someone else’s child. In many jurisdictions, pools are considered an attractive nuisance because neighborhood kids often succumb to the temptation to break into them for some unsanctioned swimming. Fencing in your pool area can protect neighborhood children and may protect you from legal liability.
2. Install Pool Alarms
A fence is a great idea, but lots of kids are little geniuses when it comes to getting around barriers. Locks, child-safe latches and alarms can all help alert you if your little one gets through any of the doors, gates or windows that lead to the pool area. Every such access point, including pet doors if they are large enough for a child, should be equipped with locks and alarms. You should hear a warning every time a gate, door or window that leads to the pool area opens. A sonar or floating alarm that alerts you when someone or something enters the water is also a good idea.
If your home forms one side of the barrier around your pool area, make sure the windows, doors, gates and locks are not only alarmed, but also self-closing and self-latching. Alarms should reset automatically after someone passes through. Check your pool alarms every month to make sure they’re working properly.
3. Keep Up with Pool Repairs
Missing or broken drain covers in your pool or hot tub can present a drowning hazard because young children can get sucked down or trapped in them. Install anti-entrapment drain covers in your pool and spa. If you do DIY pool maintenance, part of your routine should include checking these drain covers to make sure they’re present and in good working order. If you’re having your pool serviced, ask about updating your drains with anti-entrapment covers. Take advantage of your home warranty pool and spa coverage to help keep your pumps and pump components in good working order.
Your pool or spa should have two drains for every pump, because that way, suction from the drains will be less powerful, even if one drain gets blocked. Equip single-drain pools and spas with safety vacuum-release systems, which automatically stop suction if the drain gets blocked.
Finally, exercise good pool safety when preparing your children to swim – tie long hair back or put it under a bathing cap, avoid loose-fitting suits or those with dangling ties and tell your kids not to play near the pool drains.
4. Cover Your Pool When You’re Not Using It
If at all possible, you should cover your pool with a rigid safety cover when you’re not using it. A motorized cover is best for this because you should cover your pool any time you’re not using it, even during pool season. If you use a cover, make sure it fits snugly over the entire pool surface and that children or pets can’t get underneath or trapped in it. If you’re using an inflatable pool, empty it after each use – kids can drown in as little as an inch of water, and you’ll want to use fresh water for each swimming session, anyway.
5. Be Prepared for the Worst
While you might not want to think about your child drowning in your backyard pool, you should be prepared to call 911 if something goes wrong. Keep a phone nearby when you’re using the pool so you can call for help if you need it. Learning CPR can be lifesaving, because the most important thing you can do to save your child’s life if he or she starts to drown is remove him or her from the water and start performing CPR immediately. Familiarize yourself with the signs of drowning – it may not be as obvious as you’d think. And keep a life preserver and a shepherd’s hook near the pool so you can quickly rescue a drowning child or pet.
There’s no reason why you and your family shouldn’t enjoy long summer afternoons in and around the pool, but pool safety should be a top priority when you do so. Moreover, don’t let a broken pool ruin your summer. Have a plan and be prepared for unexpected breakdowns with a pool and spa pump warranty plan from American Home Shield®.