Nothing is more important than your health and the safety of your family. With the summer season already upon us, pool safety is a top priority. It is important for you to be diligent when it comes to the swimming pool environment and for you to develop good safety habits that will keep your loved ones safe. By following these safety guidelines, your family will be safe and everyone can enjoy the pool with peace of mind all season long.
First, you need to consider if there will be any first-time swimmers around the pool this year. If so, reach out to a local pool or aquatic center for swim lessons and lifeguarding classes. Supervision must be a mandatory requirement for any time the pool is in use. Make sure your kids know that it is only safe to go around and in the pool when there is an adult nearby. It has to be clear that there is to be no swimming whenever you are away from the pool or out of the house.
You should also consider getting a pool fence installed. The recommended height for pool safety fences is 4 feet and all slats must be close together so as not to allow for climbing or squeezing through. You can also install an alarm that will alert you whenever someone has entered or fallen into the pool. Teach your children about diving and make sure they understand the differences between the shallow and deep ends of the pool. Help them to identify where the depths around the pool change so they know where diving is safe.
Always wear sunscreen and make sure all the kids do too. Pool safety involves more than protection from drowning, it is also about protection from the sun when outdoors for an extended period of time. Sunscreen will keep your children healthy and sunburn free.
Do not allow food or eating in the pool, and this includes chewing gum. Having food in your mouth is a potential choking hazard which can cause drowning in an instant. People often think gum is harmless, but it is a danger so needs to spit out before you head poolside.
Many of the precautions you take for your kids will also keep your pets safe. A fence around the pool will keep them from accidentally falling into the water. Be careful with pool covers, because animals may think it is sturdy and attempt to cross it. It is for this reason that pool covers and fences are both recommended for ultimate safety. You should also never assume that your pets can swim. They may have the natural ability but if they have not been exposed to water, falling in could put them into shock. If this happens, their natural abilities may not turn on and they can drown. If your pet can swim and you do allow them to use the pool, teach them how to exit, using a ramp or the steps. They should be able to safely get in and out of the pool by themselves.
As mentioned, sunscreen is a necessity if you plan to be outdoors for a long period of time. Some sun is good for you and boosts healthy vitamin D production, but too much can cause sunburn and increase your risk for skin cancer. If you are not in the water, make sure you are covered up, wearing hats and sunglasses as well as long sleeved shirts. In fact, it never hurts to wear sunscreen and clothing. Using the UV Index issued by the National Weather Service is the best way to determine how much sun exposure is safe for you and your family. There are times of the day where the sun is hotter and more dangerous, so take note of the safest times to go for a dip.
- 0-2: minimal protection needed and you can stay outside for more than an hour
- 3-4: low rating where a hat and sunscreen are advised. Staying outside for an hour is okay.
- 5-6: moderate rating. You need a hat, sunscreen of SPF 15 and breaks in the shade when possible. Only stay outside for about 30 minutes.
- 7-9: high rating. These are the hours typically between 10 am and 4 pm, and you should only be outside for 20 minute periods.
Spending time at the pool is fun, refreshing and easily the best part of summer. There are also many dangers associated with swimming and being outdoors, so precautions are necessary. Make note and follow the guidelines discussed to keep your family safe and enjoying the pool all season long!