What’s not to love about a backyard pool? They’re great for entertaining friends and family, and getting some exercise. However, pools can also be dangerous if they’re not properly maintained.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 people drown in the United States every day and one in five of those deaths is a child under the age of 14. In addition, the CDC reports that more than half of all drowning victims are male.
How can you keep your backyard pool safe?
Follow these suggestions to help keep your pool safe:
- Never leave children unattended near a pool. Yes, it’s tempting to take a break from watching the kids for just a few minutes, but it only takes a moment for an accident to happen. For example, if a child falls into the water and is unable to get out, they can drown in as little as 20 seconds. Here’s the thing: Drowning is silent. Most people don’t realize that someone is in trouble until it’s too late.
- Make sure your pool is fenced. A fence that’s at least four feet tall will help prevent small children from getting into the pool area without adult supervision. The fence should have a self-closing, self-latching gate to keep kids out when you’re not around.
- Keep rescue equipment by the pool. This could include a ring buoy, a shepherd’s hook (a long pole with a hook on the end), or a reaching pole. In addition, every pool should have a telephone close by so you can call for help in an emergency.
- Learn CPR. If someone does drown, every second counts. Knowing CPR could mean the difference between life and death.
- Teach children to stay away from drains. Children should be taught that drains in pools and hot tubs can be dangerous. Teach children what drains look like, and explain that they should never put their heads or bodies near them.
- Enroll children in swimming lessons. Swimming lessons can help prevent drowning accidents. It’s important to enroll your child in a swimming program that’s appropriate for their age and skill level.
- Have regular pool maintenance checks. In addition to regular cleaning, your pool should also be checked by a professional on a regular basis. They can check for potential hazards and make sure the equipment is working properly.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If a storm is brewing, it’s best to take the precaution of draining the pool. This will help prevent damage to the pool and its components.
- Know the signs of drowning. It’s important to know the signs of drowning, so you can spot it if it happens. For example, someone who’s drowning might not be able to call for help, and they might appear to be gasping for air or treading water without making any progress. If someone is showing these signs, pull them out of the water immediately and call 911.
By following these tips, you can help keep your backyard pool safe for everyone to enjoy.