According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning. Tragically, an estimated 20 percent of these victims are children 14 years old or younger. Fortunately, there are many practical precautions you can take to keep your swimming pool a safe and enjoyable place for your family and friends. Basic actions that can greatly enhance the safety of your pool include:
- Adult supervision. Be sure to always watch your children whenever they swim in the pool. One of the most common mistakes parents make is going inside to finish a chore or answer the phone. However, it only takes a blink of an eye for a leisurely afternoon swim to take a turn for the worse. By keeping a responsible person or adult by the pool as children are swimming, help will always be available if an accident were to occur.
- Remove toys from the pool. After each swimming session, be sure to clear the pool area of any toys or equipment. Floaties, lifejackets, and spaghetti noodles can all tempt children to jump back into the water after an adult has gone inside.
- Utilize any appropriate barriers. Surrounding your pool or backyard with a fence or similar barrier will increase safety. The barrier will help prevent children or animals from unintentionally falling into the water. Furthermore, be sure to lock the latch of any gate to prevent children from running into the pool without adult supervision.
- Establish rules. By establishing rules, such as always swimming with a buddy, not diving, walking only on the patio, and other safety precautions, you can make your pool a safer place for family and friends. Aside from creating these rules, be sure to implement them so that they’re taken seriously and aren’t ignored.
- Use a pool cover. During the winter, a vacation, or anytime the pool isn’t in use for an extended period of time, be sure to use a pool cover and other devices to not only keep the pool in good shape, but to prevent people from going into the water.
While drownings are certainly tragic, the truth is that most of them can be prevented with proper rules and supervision. By keeping everyone safe in the pool, you’ll be able to ensure that one of the greatest joys of swimming is accomplished: having a great time!