Monday, April 19, 2010

Swimming Pool Safety Part 1: 10 things (in addition to a pool fence) that you can do to keep family and pets safer around the pool this summer.

Although you wouldn't know it from the cold spell that we've been having in the Northeast, Swimming Pool Season is right around the corner and now is as good a time as any to review your pool safety plan.

As a supplier of fences, of course we think that a proper pool safety fence is extremely important, but its only one part of a comprehensive strategy for safeguarding your family and your pets from pool related accidents. So, in this post we'll discuss 10 other pool safety steps and save pool fences for the next post.

Much of the advice in this post is summarized from the various content sources on the Consumer Product Safety Commission Website.
  1. Maintain Active Supervision When the Pool is in Use - There is no substitute for active parental supervision when the pool is in use. Accidental drownings can occur in the minutes and seconds that parents: receive a phone call, step away to use the restroom, or answer a knock at the door. One solution is to team up with another adult so that one of you can step away and still maintain supervision.

    Children under 5 should always be kept no more than arms length when in the swimming pool area.
  2. Teach Children How to Swim at an Early Age - According to Swim America, a child can be exposed to swim lessons as soon as they are capable of independent motion (as early as 6 months). They do not exactly learn how to swim at that age, but they do learn how to surface, roll over, and call for help.
  3. Lock Doors and Windows Leading to the Pool - If your home provides direct access to your swimming pool (ie. through a sliding patio door, etc), you should always keep the doors and windows locked to prevent children from gaining easy access.
  4. Swimming Pool Safety Alarms - There are many types of alarms that can be used to safeguard your pool; from standard alarms on pool entrances to floating sensors that sense disturbance in the water of your pool and will sound if a person or animal falls in. For added security, make sure that the alarm is clearly audible inside the house.
  5. Use a Pool Safety Cover - A pool safety cover can protect pets, children, and even adults from accidentally falling into a swimming pool. Make sure that your pool safety cover meets the weight requirements set forth by The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
  6. Above Ground Pool Ladders Should be Locked or Removed When the Pool is not in Use - If your above ground pool comes with a ladder that can be removed, remove it and store it in a secure area when the pool is not in use. If the ladder can not be removed or locked up, surround it with an ICC and Local Code compliant barrier. Read our Pool Fence Guide for more information about code compliant barriers.
  7. Keep Rescue Equipment By the Pool - In a drowning emergency, seconds can make the difference. Keeping rescue equipment, such as a shepherds hook and life preserver, close to the pool can save a few of those seconds. It's also important to have a first aid kit near the pool for non-drowning emergencies like falls, cuts, and scrapes.
  8. Remove Toys From the Pool After Use - Removing toys from the pool will take away a powerful attractant for your infant or toddler. The less reasons that you give your child to venture into the pool area unsupervised, the better.
  9. Mark Depth Levels Conspicuously - Many serious injuries to both children and adults are caused by diving or sliding head first into shallow water and striking the bottom of the pool. Place depth markers where they are clearly visible and place no diving markers in shallow water. Also, work with your pool contractor to make sure that diving and sliding boards are placed only in areas of the pool that have a safe depth.
  10. Use an ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 Approved Pool Drain Cover - This is a law since the 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted to prevent accidental drain entrapments and eviscerations. More information and a list of compliant pool drain cover manufacturers can be found at the link above.

The above list is not exhaustive; there are many more safety considerations than are practical to cover in a blog post. For more information on swimming pool safety, check out these web resources.
http://www.poolsafety.gov/
http://www.swimamerica.org/

Also, talk to your local swimming pool professional for help devising a sound swimming pool safety strategy and to make sure that your pool is compliant with all local and national codes and laws.

Our next blog post will cover pool safety fencing standards and best practices.

Looking to enhance the safety of your pool?  Check out the following products.


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