T he backyard pool is the attraction of the summer. Kids can play for hours in it and consume all their extra energy by the end of the day while adults can practice their swimming skills or just lay on an inflatable mattress with a margarita in their hands. This sounds like the dream summer. Free time, parties, and relaxation. But it only takes a fraction of a moment for all this dreamy atmosphere to turn into a nightmare that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Like any fun stuff, the pool has a dangerous side. In the end, it is a huge recipient filled with water and surrounded by surfaces that can easily become slippery. It is not like a pond or a lake, which may have a soft sand or mud bottom, so you can bet that if your head hits the floor it will hurt. Moreover, it certainly isn’t friendly to small children, and this aspect is reflected by the statistics that show that, after birth defects, drowning is the first most frequent cause of death for children age 1 to 4.
So, no one is saying to stop having fun in the pool. But do it in a responsible way and with great care for the little ones. The following tips and tools will help you rest at night, knowing that your kid is in their bed and not trying the water with their little toe.
Hypotermia is a true danger, especially for children. Keep an eye on the water temperature with a first-rate pool thermometer that can act as a supplementary measuring means to the heater’s hygrometer. Thus, you can determine if the water is properly heated before reading it on your kids’ blue lips.
What Does Pool Safety Mean?
It refers to a series of measures that need to be taken for every user of the pool to be safe all the time. Although most measures are taken for protecting children from drowning, a great part of them can ensure adult safety as well. And bear in mind that this concept isn’t all about fences and drains and pool alarms, but, first of all, about attitude.
It is the way you behave that can make things dangerous around you. Like, for example, not paying attention to your toddler or little kid while they are wandering around the pool. Or getting too drunk to walk straight around the water. Or assuming that if someone is drowning you will hear them scream. Well, most drownings are silent like a tomb of waters, so you should certainly not rely on your ears to capture the signal.
Only by taking things seriously, you can make sure no accidents happen in your backyard, and this is the essence of safety. Taking care of yourself and others, following safety regulations, and, last but not least, installing all the recommended safety equipment.
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How Can You Make Your Backyard Pool Safe?
If you have ever been to a public pool, you have seen that a lot of measures are taken to avoid accidents. Lifeguards are watching from their chairs and acting when their help is required. You’ve seen many fences, ladders with wide steps, and hopefully carrying parents watching over their kids the whole time.
While it is true that your backyard unit would never accommodate so many people, it wouldn’t hurt to learn something from the rules applied in these spaces, which are actually following the official regulations.
Here is what you need to do to increase safety around your home swimming pool:
At home, you are the lifeguard, so your mission is to keep an eye on the swimmers, especially the kids. If you are throwing a party, make sure to designate someone with this job. Having more eyes supervising the splashing isn’t the best idea in this case, as the responsibility is divided, and there may be moments when nobody is watching actually. If the task is too much for a person, establish watches. Fresh eyes will be more attentive. Just make sure that your guards haven’t drunk too much alcohol and can jump into the water if an incident should occur.
Take CPR courses
This isn’t going to happen to me is the exact type of thinking that leads to situations that could have ended well but didn’t. If you have a big hole filled with water in your backyard, now it’s time to learn how to resuscitate someone. Join a CPR course and learn this stuff. It isn’t even that difficult. And if you think you don’t have the time, at least find a good online course and stay attentive. It won’t bring you a certificate, but at least you will know what to do if someone is drowning in your pool.
Be consistent with the rules
If you have established that no one is allowed in the pool after 7, don’t cease at your kids’ requests and make sure to treat the braking of the rule seriously, otherwise, they may find sneaking out in the middle of the night and taking a swim as a joke. At the same time, if you have established that your kids shouldn’t enter the pool unsupervised, stick to this rule. Explain to them why it isn’t a good idea to push each other into the water. Additionally, let all the adult members of the family know about your rules and ask them to follow them and remind them to the kids if they seem to forget.
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Learn how to swim
If someone’s drowning, you can throw them a life preserver, but if you’ve noticed too late, you may have to get into the water and actually save the person. This would obviously be impossible if you have never learned how to swim. So, make time for this. You can hire an instructor to teach you or rely on an experienced family member. If no one in your family knows how to swim, but you have installed a pool, it’s time for all of you to learn.
When the fun is over, clear all the toys from the pool
They will float so attractively that no other toy in the yard or house will be able to draw’s your child attraction. The doll will seem closer to the deck than it really is while the little boat will seem that can come to shore if you call the water towards you. This is how little kids end up into the water, and the silence that settles afterward is one of the most excruciating you’ve ever seen.
Keep the pool sparkless
Clean it every week using brushes or an automatic cleaning option and make sure to add the required quantity of chlorine and disinfectant to prevent bacteria growth and kill algae. If the water is cloudy, you can use a clarifier to make it transparent again. It is easier to spot someone who is having trouble if the water is clear. Plus, you can rest assured that no one will be getting sick from a bacteria cocktail.
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Pool Safety Equipment
Until now, we’ve covered the attitude part, which is the most important one and cannot be compensated by any equipment. Nevertheless, special tools can increase safety, so here’s what you can employ to make sure swimming remains safe in your backyard:
They may look ugly. They may ruin your backyard dreamy aspect. But if you have kids, installing a fence around the pool is mandatory. Make sure they are four-sided and non-climbable, and that the gate can be locked so your kids cannot open it. The fence should be at least 4 feet tall. And, yes, you should place them even if you have an above-ground unit. This way you will be protecting your kids and your neighbor kids at the same time. Plus, fewer animals will end up in your blue waters.
If you are taking your kids to a playdate and the property has a pool, ask if it is guarded by a 4-sided fence. If it isn’t, it is better to decline the invitation or suggest that the playdate takes place at your house.
It is the safest way to make sure that no kid or animal steps inside the pool without you knowing it. It will activate as soon as it feels a certain level of movement inside the water (associated with someone being inside) and sound until you come and check what is happening. Some models will even send you a text message, an email, or a phone alert to let you know of the situation, so you can be in charge even if you are at work.
If you are determined to start a fierce fight against drowning in your backyard, check out our best pool alarms and get informed every time someone or something is in the water.
Pick a rigid one that can be electrically actioned so you can easily lower and lift it. This option is strong enough to sustain a kid’s weight so they can’t fall into the water. At the same time, it keeps the water cleaner and doesn’t allow animals to enter it. For enhanced safety, keep the pool covered every time it is not in use, even if it is the middle of the day.
Float lines and Life preservers
These are excellent means to increase protection and can be employed while the pool is being used. You can buy multiple float lines and tie them in parallel from one side of the pool to another. The floats will keep the strings up, so people can grab them and stay at the surface until help arrives. The same goes for life preservers, which can be thrown towards the person in need to gain time until they can be rescued.
Critter escape ramp
It is perfect for small animals, which can use it to escape when their body has become tired. That’s a really nice thing to do for them, but even if you cannot be bothered with animal suffering, you wouldn’t want to find your pool filled with dead frogs or squirrels. Plus, if the animal is small enough, it can be sucked by the pump and end up clogging the filter. This would mean a lot of extra work for you.
First aid kit
It may seem that you don’t need one, but there are plenty of accidents that happen inside or around the pool that have nothing to do with drowning. Someone may slip and hurt their head or their knee, back, elbow. You will want to have band-aids and disinfectants at hand to solve the problem quickly before the blood ends up in the water. No one wants that.
The Bottom Line
Make sure that, at the end of the day, you can put your head on the pillow and rest, knowing that every member of your family is sleeping quietly in their room. It isn’t that expensive to install a few fences and buy some life preservers. Plus, you can get cheaper if you stay attentive and ready to jump every time someone is in danger. Remember: the pool will stay as fun as you make it, but there’s no fun outside good safety.