Pool time is great for kids, and parents too. It's a fun way to spend family time together or connect with friends. It's also a wonderful way to get exercise. But when kids are playing in or around a pool, it’s important to take precautions to ensure everyone's safety.
Safety tips for when your swimming pool is in use
Take these 10 precautions to prevent pool injuries or drowning whenever your pool is in use:
- Assign an adult to supervise the pool at all times, known as a Water Watcher.
- Maintain constant visual contact with children in the pool. Maintain touch contact with all non-swimmers and young children.
- Never leave a child alone in a pool or spa even for a second.
- Do not permit diving in the shallow end of the pool.
- Keep a telephone near the pool. In case of emergency, dial 911.
- Keep non-pool toys like big wheels, wagons, tricycles, etc. away from the pool.
- Remove inflatable toys from the pool when not in use.
- Never allow swimming in an unlit pool after dark.
- Use life jackets for kids who need assistance swimming.
- Keep pool safety devices – such as a rescue ring – nearby.
Take safety measures before diving into a pool
Most home and hotel pools are smaller and not as deep as large public pools. These pools often don’t give swimmers enough room to dive safely and avoid hitting the pool edges or the bottom of the pool. Diving injuries can cause life-threatening spinal cord injuries. Before diving into a pool, take these precautions:
- Make sure the minimum depth is 8 feet.
- Dive only into the deep end with your hands in front of you.
- Don’t dive from the side of the pool.
- Never dive into an above-ground pool.
- Don’t dive or jump off a roof or building.
- Don’t dive through toys.
Safety tips for when your swimming pool is not in use
Pool safety may not be top of mind when the pool is not in use, especially during the cooler months. However, 15% of children who drown in North Texas do so in the winter months, and drowning incidents during cold weather are more likely to be fatal. Follow these six safety precautions to keep your pool safe year-round for young children:
- Make sure any fence gates and doors leading to the pool area are self-closing and self-latching. All latches should be above a child's reach.
- Restrict a child's access to the pool when there is not adequate supervision.
- Keep doors and gates locked. In addition, it may be a good idea to consider using a door alarm to alert you if a kid goes outside.
- Use an approved pool safety cover and/or spa cover. Consider installing a pool alarm, which alerts you if anything enters the water.
- Drain standing water from pool covers, and use rigid pool covers.
- Keep chairs and other climbable items away from the pool fence, if applicable.
Other pool safety tips
Beyond taking these precautions to keep swimming pools safe for children, there are other ways to prevent pool drowning. Assess your child's swimming ability annually and consider swimming lessons for all children 6 months and older. In addition, parents, babysitters, guardians and anyone over 14 should learn CPR and update their CPR skills annually. The American Red Cross provides information on signing up for a local CPR class.
Additionally, parents should keep pool chemicals out of children's reach and never enter a pool too soon after chemicals have been added. Consider keeping a first aid kit on hand in case any minor injuries occur. Finally, teach older children how to dial 911 in case of an emergency and keep a telephone near the pool.
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