Last Updated on November 23, 2020
Drowning is commonly known as one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in children under five years. A mind-boggling fact is that most of these drowning cases take place in backyard pools, making most pool owners wonder what they can do to prevent such mishaps. One thing you have to consider about children is that they are quick, energetic, and innocent, and so getting into a pool full of water that could suffocate them in a matter of seconds is not a big deal for them. Someone who has not experienced such an accident may simply dismiss it as a case of negligence by the individual whose custody the child was in until they find themselves in such a situation. The most devastating thing about children drowning is that they are, in most cases, not able to shout for help, and so they drown quietly so that you only realize when it’s quite late. Fear not, however, as there are several measures you can take to get rid of such accidents and make your backyard pool as safe as possible.
Install pool barriers
If you already have a swimming pool in your home or are planning to construct one, you have to acknowledge the regulations that come with such a project. One of the guidelines you want to take note of is installing a pool enclosure that works to prevent unauthorized entry into the pool.
- Barrier measurement requirements: In most areas, it’s required that erect a pool fence if the swimming pool is more than 18 inches deep. Public swimming pools come with an extra regulation of installing a slip-resistant, non-abrasive decking, which is not the case with private pools. Your private pool fence, however, has to be at least 4 feet high which is common in most areas, so ensure that you check your local building code to understand such requirements. In addition, if you wish you construct a pool fence made out of masonry, you will need some extra permit, if the fence goes over 3.5 feet high.
- Additional barrier requirements: Installing a fence means that you will have to create an entry point, which also comes with extra requirements. If the door to your pool has direct access from the house, you must install and exit alarm system that notifies you in case of unauthorized access to the pool. In some cases, you are required to install a self-closing and locking mechanism to your door, and such mechanisms have to be not less than 54 inches above the floor. You can as well include a power safety cover for your pool, to prevent a child from accidentally falling into the pool.
Invest in anti-entrapment drain covers
Several cases of drowning that were as a result of someone being trapped by drain pipes in the swimming pool have been published on the internet and one the best thing about them is that they are avoidable. To avoid such cases, one is advised to install anti-entrapment safety pool drain covers. The most advisable thing to do, however, is to keep children away from any openings in your pool as they could be fatal in most cases.
This is one of the most effective ways to prevent swimming pool accidents or any other water-related accidents. Always ensure that your young one or non-swimmer is within arm’s reach. Sometimes you might end up losing focus on the child, and as you know, it takes only a small amount of time before they slip into the pool. For such situations, restraining them would be one of the most effective solutions. In all cases, however, try to avoid situations where a child is left unsupervised since as mentioned above, they are swift and will only need minutes if not seconds to get into a pool without any fear whatsoever.
Learn to swim
Learning how to swim is also an effective countermeasure that prevents pool accidents significantly. See to it that your young ones take swimming lessons at least once a year. That way, they can learn to stay safe when around any water environments that could lead to drowning. Ensure that non-swimmers, learners, and children use floating devices as they go a long way in minimizing any drowning risks.
Create swimming pool rules
Straightforward swimming pool rules are essential to the safety of anyone who might use or access it, and should be something like:
- Do not dive.
- Don’t run around.
- Never go into the pool without an adult’s company.
- Get help for someone in trouble as quickly as possible.
- No pushing.
Such rules will be easily understood even by young ones since they are not complicated in any way.
Learn to deal with emergencies
Accidents can happen at any time and place, and the best thing you can do if unpreventable is to be ready for such situations. Below are some of the things you can do:
- Ensure that anyone who will be using the pool has gone through and understood pool safety instructions and rules.
- Acquire rescue equipment and ensure that such tools can be accessed with ease, in addition to being in good condition.
- A poolside phone with emergency contacts listed is more than beneficial. You can also include your address so that anyone that doesn’t remember it won’t struggle when guiding emergency service to your home – every second count, remember?
- Let everyone in your home take emergency courses such as CPR and First Aid courses.
Legal risks of owning a pool
Now that you already know what you can do to avoid pool accidents, you need to know that there are several legal risks associated with owning a pool. Even if you try your best to avoid accidents, you’re still in trouble if accidents happen by or in your pool. As the owner of such a pool, you are subject to being sued and several other legal risks.
As such, always see to it that:
- No one swims alone, since anyone can drown, including adults – there has to be someone to help or ask for help.
- Pool safety instructions and rules are followed at all times to avoid cases that might be interpreted as negligence.
- No intoxicated guests get into the pool since they don’t have proper control while in such a state.
- Your diving board (if there is one) is removed when not being used by diving experts.
- Pool safety barriers are in a good working condition, be it alarms, fences, or pool covers. Remember that you could be sued if someone gets injured in your pool even if it was an accident.
- You get a homeowner’s policy that covers liability lawsuits in the event of any swimming pool injuries or even death. Keep in mind that some of these policies are so strict when it comes to covering pools with diving boards or slides.
Owning a backyard pool is one of the most luxurious additions to your home, but that comes with a price – safety concerns. However, it’s not hard to make your pool safe. All you need is to be serious with all safety measures to avoid any mishaps that could get you in serious trouble.