Swimming is only fun if everyone stays safe. Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children age 1 – 4. But drowning is also preventable by being careful and watchful around a pool, especially with children. Below are 7 things you can do to ensure that everyone stays safe around your backyard pool:
If your kids are old enough, involve them in the process of brainstorming things that can happen and how to prevent accidents. For example, no glass around the pool. Broken glass that gets in the water is hard to find, and no one wants a big, bad cut. You may think that rules are just common sense, but establishing firm pool rules puts everyone on the same page to keep kids, pets, and adults safe.
Kids and adults should always swim with someone nearby. Young or inexperienced swimmers need to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Floaties aren’t enough to prevent drowning. Appoint a ‘designated watcher’ for family gatherings with small children.
The deck can be slippery, and there’s no official lifeguard in your backyard to blow a whistle. Mark the water depth, and let an adult be the one to designate a safe diving area if the pool has a deep end.
Bicycles, tricycles, and skateboards can cause accidents, and electricity plus water is a shock hazard.
If there are children in the home, or if they visit regularly, install a fence (at least 4 ft. high) around the pool with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Never leave the gate propped open. Also, make sure that the drain has a proper cover; the suction from a drain can cause drowning for both children and adults. Install alarms on doors and windows that have pool access. Consider a surface wave or underwater alarm. Water rescue equipment, such as a ring buoy or Shepherd’s Crook, should be within a few feet of the pool.
CPR saves lives because seconds count when a person is drowning. In an emergency, you want to be able to help. CPR classes are available in Bakersfield through the Red Cross and other sources.
Toys in the pool are a temptation to kids that could result in drowning. Also, pool chlorine doesn’t clean pool toys. The toys need separate cleaning to prevent illness. Periodic cleaning with a water and bleach mixture keeps everyone healthy.
Enjoy your pool, and stay safe!