Swimming pools, both public and private, are a lot of fun and a popular way to beat the summer heat and get some exercise. But they also come with hazards, from serious injury to death, so taking the right precautions is necessary to ensuring everyone’s safety.
Children are at especially high risk in a pool; more than two hundred of them are fatally drowned every year. For this reason, it’s essential to be vigilant when kids are in or around the pool – never leave them without a supervising adult. Young kids, who may tire easily or be less experienced swimmers, should be kept near the wall in the shallow end of the pool, within reach of an adult. Enrolling them in swim lessons at an early age is important if they’re going to be around water.
Help keep kids and pets out of the pool when you’re not around by fencing or otherwise closing it off well. Fences should be a minimum of four feet high and use a self-closing, self-latching gate. If you don’t have a fence or enclosure, keep the pool covered when not in use; a safety cover that can be tethered to the ground to prevent people falling in or slipping under is best. You may consider an alarm that goes off when someone enters the pool area. You should also clear away any toys or flotation devices when done swimming, as they can attract young kids or hide a swimmer who has fallen in from view.
Make sure everyone knows the rules about using the pool: rules such as no diving if the pool is shallow, avoiding drain covers, leaving room between other swimmers when jumping in, and walking instead of running can help prevent accidents.
Maintaining the pool correctly even when it’s not in active use is also important. The water should be clean and clear, but check the chemical levels regularly – you can prevent ear infections, skin rashes, and other infections by making sure the chemical levels are correct and the filter is working at all times. Keep all electrical appliances well away from the pool, and never leave drains or other openings without the appropriate covers. Finally, keep a phone within easy reach – it shouldn’t be used for texting or browsing while others are in the pool, but in the case of emergency.
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