Millions of us enjoy warm weather every year by swimming in our backyard pools and relaxing in hot tubs. Tragically though, over 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year.
Levine Law Group has compiled some tips from our friends at the American Red Cross and ISHOF to ensure a safe summer. Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
- Keep children under active supervision at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young kids. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool—never allow anyone to swim alone. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
- Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
- Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.
- Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
- Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.
- Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.
- Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures.
- Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.
- Keep a first aid kit at poolside.
- Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
- Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.
- Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.
- Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers, or other equipment to make a child “water safe.”
- Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.
- Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble.