After a long winter, chances are that you’re eager to open up the backyard pool for another summer. Whether you’ll be diving in or just dipping your toes over the edge, most people look at pool season as an opportunity for cheap, outdoor fun. Still, safety is important. Roughly 5,200 children are treated each year for spa and pool-related accidents.
Before you pull that blue tarp away, make sure you’ve taken the proper safety precautions to ensure that this summer will be enjoyable but, most importantly, safe. Below, Betsy Race, MD, pediatrician at Riddle Hospital, offers a checklist of safety tips to review before anyone takes their first swim.
Install a fence around your pool
To prevent kids from getting too close to the pool without supervision, install a fence and self-closing or self-locking gate around your pool or yard.
Keep your pool secure during off-hours
Although a fence will help with this, lockable safety covers on your pool or spa will ensure that kids can’t find their way into a pool without adult supervision. Look for door, gate, or pool alarms that will alert you of a problem.
Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s important to be up-to-date on your knowledge of CPR for children and adults. Refresh your memory every year by attending a local First Aid or CPR course.
Learn how to swim
It sounds basic, but many children (and even adults!) don’t know how to swim. Enlist your children in swimming lessons before summer starts, and encourage neighborhood children to do the same.
Get the right equipment
Before the season begins, build a pool safety toolkit that will include a first aid kit, a pair of scissors, a charged portable telephone or cell phone, and flotation device. Use these in the event of an emergency.
Keep children away from drains, pipes and other openings
Hair and clothing can easily get caught in areas like these, which can be dangerous. Encourage children to play and swim away from these areas.
By following a few safety precautions, you can prevent a pool or spa injury. Still, accidents happen. Should an emergency situation occur, call for medical help immediately.