Swimming Pool Safety Tips To Protect Your Kid
Having a house with a pool is both a privilege and a liability. It is a privilege that lets you enjoy an activity that is both a form of leisure and exercise – swimming. But a responsibility to make sure that everyone around the pool and in the pool is safe and free from accidents.
Swimming is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family in most seasons on the year. In fact, an hour of intense swimming can burn up to 650 calories. Since it is a cardiovascular activity, it strengthens the heart and the lungs.
However, if it is not done correctly or if the swimming pool has unseen hazards, it can cause accidents and worse, deaths. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are at least 163 fatalities in pools and spas in the summer of 2017. These were caused by various like the lack of supervision, the lack of rules and safety reminders on pool use and the lack of built-in safety accessories for the pool.
We will share with you practical tips in ensuring that pool use will be more enjoyable and safe from now on:
1. Prevent Slips and Falls
Slipping and falling are among the main reasons why there are incidents of pool drowning. Choosing the right pool deck tiles can improve the texture of the area surrounding your pool. Ideally, it should be a “grip” to prevent slipping especially on children. These are the things to consider in choosing materials for your deck :
- It should not be slippery – whether it’s wet or dry
- It should be rough to provide grip but comfortable enough to be walked on
- It should be tough to withstand any season
- It should be resistant to mold, algae and chemicals like chlorine and other acids
- Safety fences should be easy to install on it
- It should complement the overall appearance of your pool, garden and house
2. Always Inspect Pool Drains
Pool drain covers must be checked daily before pool use. Drain entrapment on pools is a terrifying thought and it is a reality that many people had to face but it definitely preventable. According to a post published by Thought Co., there have been 147 documented incidents of drain entrapment accidents. Thirty-six of which resulted in death.
Accidents like this happen when drains and suction outlets are not properly covered. Victims who are usually children can get their arms, legs, swimwear and hair caught and stuck in the uncovered drains. Since it takes some time to notice an and turn off the power supply on the pool, victims can suffer dismemberment or death.
3. Install Fences and Barriers
Fences, barriers and gates are an extra layer of security to prevent unauthorized entry to your pool and the rest of your property. But more importantly, it intends to protect your family members and guests from entering the pool without supervision or during pool maintenance.
The advisable height of these fences and barriers should be at least 4 feet high and cannot be climbed on. Gaps, if any, should also be narrower than 4 inches to avoid More and more residential and community pools are investing on glass barriers for a more seamless view for easy supervision. It is also recommended that all pool gates be self-closing.
4. Install Safety Alarms
Equipping your access door to the pool with an alarm system will alert you and your household in case somebody, especially children try to go out and go near the pool area. Pool Alarm Systems work 24/7 and are easy to install and use.
5. Keep The Deck Free From Toys
Bringing toys in the pool can be fun for children but bring hazard too. Small toys can get submerged in the water and kids might try to get it from the bottom. Some toys can also get sucked in compromise the pool filter. Toys left on the pool deck can cause slips and falls to both children and adults.
Have a separate set of pool toys, ideally, inflatables for your kids to make sure they don’t carry toys not suitable for the pool area with them. Make sure also to buy from trusted stores that sell lead-free and carcinogen-free toys.
6. Clean and Treat Your Pool Regularly
For beginners, there are five (5) easy ways to keep your pool clean, bright and safe:
A. Test the pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels of the water
Using pool water test kits or individual test strips, you can determine whether your pool water is acidic or basic. If the pH levels are high, it is acidic and low levels mean it is basic. The ideal pH level for pools is 7.4 to 7.6.
The water alkalinity also affects the pH level of the pool water and the ideal range to maintain is 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm). Determining the amount of chlorine, bromine, etc. in the pool water can help you assess which treatment chemicals to add to your pool water.
Some people do this in reverse but the truth is, testing the pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels must be done before and after the treatment. This makes the pool clean and free from having too high or too low protective chemicals.
B. Remove debris and build-up on your pool tiles
This is used to remove floating debris and leaves on the pool surface.
Deep Leaf Rake
This is used to remove pebbles, rocks, coins or toys that might have settled at the bottom of the pool. These items can damage you pump once it gets in the main drain.
Skimmer and Pump Baskets
These are built-in net skimmers around the pool area. These should also be checked and emptied everytime you clean your pool.
Remove build-up on your pool tiles which can cause staining a algae growth over time. These build up come from oil, dirt and dead skin that mixes in the water. To take away the build-up and prevent it from settling down at the bottom of the pool, make sure your pool pump and filter are working and running while you brush.
It’s what you think it is. It’s not the same vacuum cleaner that you use inside your home. A pool vacuum is a set of accessories to be attached directly to your skimmer as you use a vacuum head connected to a long handle and clean the bottom of your pool.
There are also automatic vacuum pool cleaners that can let you cut your pool cleaning time in half.
C. Treat your pool with cleaning and sanitizing chemicals
After testing the water and getting rid of debris and residue, it is now time to treat your pool. Contrary to old beliefs, you can just simply put chlorine tablets on your pool. A combination of chemicals is needed to keep the pool balanced.
Some treatments must be done at least once a week and at the end of the day to avoid chemical reaction with the sun’s rays.
It is available in tablet and liquid form but tables are easier to control. The release of chlorine is by dissolving the tablets through floating chlorine feeder. Chlorine level must be checked.
This treatment comes in powder form and dissolves fast in water. It is a chlorine boost that kills bacteria and algae in your pool. It also makes the pool water clean and clear. Mix the shock with a bucket of water first before mixing it with the pool water.
Make sure that your pool is on and the filter is running. It is also better to perform the shock during dusk or at nighttime. Do this once a week.
Although your pool shock treatment kills algae, it is best to reinforce it and continuously prevent algae growth with a dedicated algae treatment. Mix algaecide per instructions on the bottle the next morning after the shock treatment.
When is it safe to swim after the treatment?
The basic rule of thumb is to wait for 15 minutes after putting algaecide before swimming. However, just to make sure that it is safe especially for children, do a PH and alkalinity tests once more.
7. Set Your Pool Rules
Whether it’s a home pool or a public pool, there are a set of rules to keep in mind to make swimming more enjoyable and free from hazards.
These are basic pool rules to follow:
Set and observe pool hours
Pools at home should have pool hours too. Setting specific pool hours will give you time to maintain the pool and to prevent unauthorized entry when there is no lifeguard or adult to supervise the pool goers.
Active supervision and buddy system
Toddlers and children can move too fast and accidents can happen with a blink of an eye. Adult supervision is vital in making sure that children and everyone swimming and playing at the pool and in areas surrounding it is safe.
Aside from putting door and gate alarms, parents and guardians are the first level of protection against accidents and drowning due to unsupervised swimming. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1-14 years old in the USA.
Doing a buddy system when kids are swimming is also a practical idea. Assign the teens in the group to look over the younger kids. It teaches them to be responsible too.
Wear proper swimming attire
Wearing the appropriate swimming attire means keeping the swimmer and the pool safe. Loose clothing can get sucked in uncovered drains. It can also weight down especially those who don’t know how to swim yet. The best attire for swimming at home and in community pools are bathing suit, religious swimsuit, swimming trunks, board shorts and rash guards.
Swimming caps can also prevent drain entrapment accidents, so it is smart to wear one. Goggles can protect your eyes from chemicals that are in the water.
No running, diving and pushing
Kids will be kids, but this is a rule that every pool area implements and observes. Running, playing tag and unintentional pushing around the pool area even if the pool deck has a non-slip mat or tiles can put children to the risk of hurting other children or themselves. Pushing someone who does not know how to swim can lead to drowning.
Likewise, not all pools are suitable for diving, especially shallow ones. And even if it is, diving without the appropriate training can cause accidents.
Cleaning your pool weekly can protect your family and guests from harmful bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that can cause skin and water-borne diseases.
Make it a habit of sharing the chore of cleaning the pool and keeping it clean at all times.
Pool safety is not limited to the physical condition of the pool. For the family to enjoy this extended living space, it must be kept clean based on acceptable health standards, it must be free from physical hazards around it and it must be used with caution and kids must be accompanied by adults at all times.
May these safety tips be helpful and keep your pool a place where family bond and make great and happy memories!