Kids have plenty of fun in swimming pools, but parents must take proactive steps to make sure their children swim in a safe environment. About 800 children die every year from drowning, and nearly half of those incidents are in a swimming pool or spa. Here are ways how to childproof your pool to ensure maximum safety.
Childproofing Basics for Your Pool Area
Parents should learn about childproofing a swimming pool because there's no way to babyproof a pool. Giving your child early swimming lessons is advantageous, but the child still always needs adult supervision.
The central concept to keep in mind for childproofing a pool is to develop multilayered security. An essential principle of this concept is that the entire pool area, including entrances, should have child protection in mind.
One of the security layers should be a four-sided fence of about 5 feet in height built around the pool. The gate to the pool area should never be propped open, as the gate should have its own self-closing or self-latching capability. It's essential to control the entrances to the pool area, as entry barriers can be the best defense against drowning accidents. Other security layers may include gate alarms, wearable devices, and safety nets.
Parents should make sure kids don't place toys near the pool and not accidentally trip on anything. Keep glass away from the area. Adults should also teach their kids not to run on wet concrete or near the water. Another safety consideration is using an adequate shade from an umbrella to block dangerous UV rays from the sun.
While there is no federal law on swimming pool fence requirements, states and local jurisdictions have established their requirements. Homeowners who own a pool must have fencing to meet the homeowners’ insurance policy requirements. Insurers view home pools without fencing as risks for disaster.
When the Pool Isn't Being Used
The pool area should be locked up when you are not able to supervise your kids. You should place a rigid cover over the water as a safety measure. Do not let water collect above the cover. Some homeowners invest in mechanical covers controlled by a switch.
Even when the pool isn't used, it's a good idea to keep rescue gear such as life preservers at the site at all times. Other safety items to store nearby include kickboards, rope, and a pole. Ensure the pool cover is removed when it's time to swim so that no one gets trapped underneath.
Other Safety Concerns
It's possible to teach an infant to swim, which is a good idea as long as you provide constant supervision. Overcoming water fear at an early age by learning to float could help a child survive an unforeseen pool incident. But never assume a young child can take care of themselves once they know how to swim. There are still dangerous scenarios that kids aren't always prepared for, such as getting pushed in the water by another child.
You may want to put latches on doors and windows inside your home for even more safety to prevent children from wandering near the pool area. Installing an alarm system for your pool that sends alerts to your smartphone is another helpful security layer.
Following the above tips will help you learn how to childproof your pool. You’ve invested a lot of time and money beautifying your backyard, pool, and maybe even a deck, so don’t forget, protecting your children from harm and protecting your deck from a dog are both very important.