Before diving into the pool this summer, refresh yourself on these crucial safety tips and guidelines. You could save a life!
Designate a responsible adult to supervise children in the swimming pool at all times. Common distractions, including technology and household chores, should be avoided when watching children. A helpful method is the 10/20 rule: An adult should scan the pool every 10 seconds and be able to reach a distressed child within 20 seconds. Remember that drowning rarely involves cries for help – it’s silent and all too easy to miss.
Pool floats and inflatable “water wings” are not always reliable flotation devices. Purchase properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets to keep young or inexperienced swimmers safe while in the pool, and replace the jackets when they grow worn or tear. Every backyard pool should also have quick access to a life hook, as well as a safety ring buoy, in cases of emergency.
Rules may include: no running when near the pool, no diving into shallow areas, no pushing or horseplay, and no swimming alone. Post the listed rules in plain sight to serve as a reminder to both family and pool guests.
Build or maintain a fence that is at least four feet high and includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. Keep the gate locked and the perimeter of the fence cleared; children can use objects such as lawn chairs or other stackable furniture to climb over the fence and into danger.
When the pool is not being used, and especially during the off-season months, install a safety cover to protect your pool from debris and prevent life-threatening accidents. Covers are made for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Also, remove any ladders or steps that can be used for pool access.
From perimeter and pressure-sensitive alarms to gate alarms, these devices further increase a pool’s security. Pool alarms should not, however, be treated as a stand-alone solution to pool safety.
Have a well-stocked first-aid kit available near the pool, ready to treat everything from skinned knees to bee stings. Adhesive bandages, gauze pads, non-latex gloves, antiseptic cream, and tweezers are just a few of the items to include in your kit. Pool owners should also stay up-to-date on CPR training and methods to assist drowning victims.
Toss a lifesaving device, such as a life hook or even a pool noodle, for the victim to grasp. Avoid jumping in after a panicked victim, as the struggle may pull both parties under water.
In cases of near-drowning, CPR may need to be administered. If the victim is unresponsive or not breathing, ask someone to call 911 and then begin performing CPR. Continue until either the victim is revived or emergency personnel reach the scene. Medical attention is required to help prevent any related health complications.