Having a swimming pool in the back yard is a lot of fun. With a pool in place, you and your family can vacation without ever leaving home, but before you take your first swim you need to take safety into account.
The good news is that a few simple, commonsense safety precautions can prevent most swimming pool problems. Here are some things you can do, right now, to secure your pool and keep your friends, family members and neighborhood children safe.
#1. Invest in Family Swimming Lessons If you have a pool in your backyard, every member of your family needs to know how to swim. It does not matter if Grandma just plans to do water aerobics or Junior plans to stay at the shallow end. A single mistake or moment of carelessness could be tragic.
You can take swimming lessons at the local YMCA or gym, or hire a coach to give lessons at your home. No matter which approach you choose, the peace of mind you receive will be well worth the cost.
#2. Exceed Local Fencing Requirements Many townships impose fencing requirements for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Find out what those requirements are before you build, then exceed them.
If your township requires a three-foot fence, build a four- or five-foot one instead. Top it off with a childproof lock and make sure all gates are self-closing.
#3. Insist on Safe Behavior Horseplay and other unsafe activities are a common cause of pool accidents. Insist on safe behavior around the pool at all times, and do not waver from that commitment.
Enforcing these safety rules, consistently, is vital, especially if you have children. Your kids will be watching what you do, and if you are not consistent they may let their guard down when you are not around.
#4. Store Your Pool Chemicals Safely Water is not the only potential danger in your pool. The chemicals you use to clean the water, disinfect the pool and balance the pH can also be dangerous. Store all of your pool chemicals safely and in the original containers. Mixing the wrong chemicals can create toxic fumes, and those kinds of errors are more likely if the chemicals are removed from their original packaging.
#5. Keep a Flotation Ring and First Aid Kit by the Pool Your pool should include safety devices like floatation rings and first aid kits. If you have a large pool, placing a floatation ring at each end (or each corner) of the pool is a smart idea. If your pool is a small one, you can probably get away with a single ring; just be sure you know where it is at all times. A first aid kit is another important line of defense, so keep it close by whenever anyone is swimming or hanging out by the pool.
#6. Check Drain Covers Before Every Swim If the drain cover becomes loose or fully dislodged, long hair, jewelry and loose clothing can easily get sucked in. That could trap swimmers under the water and even cause a drowning. It only takes a minute to check the drain covers, so make it part of your everyday routine.
Installing a pool in your backyard should be a fun and exciting experience, and with the proper safety measures, you can ensure that it will always remain that way! What about you, do you have any safety tips for families with a backyard pool? What about rules for “pool time?”