Did you know that nearly 400 children drown in pools and spas every year? 300 of these children are under the age of 5, and 87% of these deaths occurred at residential pools. Each of these occurrences is tragic, but they are all preventable.
It’s not just about knowing how to swim, there are dozens of other factors involved. Preventing these accidents requires multiple layers of protection: adult supervision, safety barriers, door and pool alarms, regular inspections, swim lessons, and CPR certification. If you own a pool or spa, here are some steps you can take to keep your children safe.
1. Teach your children to swim.
Swimming is often though of as a fun summer activity. However, the true benefit of being able to swim is that it can save lives.
2. Ensure adult supervision.
Adult supervision trumps all other safety measures. An undistracted adult should always be around while kids are in or near swimming pools. If multiple adults are present, they can alternate in shifts to make sure that they are alert and aware if something happens.
3. Install Barriers.
Even if you don’t have kids, it’s a good idea to have some type of barrier around your pool, like a fence or a safety net. You never know when you may have friends or family over or when a child from the neighborhood may decide to wander over.
In Arizona, homeowners are required to have pool fences if they have young children, however, many still do not. Fences come in many different styles but should always be 4 feet high at minimum (5 feet is better) and nonclimbable. Also make sure that the gate you install is self-closing and self-latching, opening away from the pool. Your pool fence should also be made of a material that you can see through, that way, in the event that a child does get into the pool area, they are visible.
5. Install a safety net or automatic pool cover for the off-season.
Safety nets and automatic pool covers prevent children from being submerged if they are to fall into the pool area. Safety nets are attached to many anchors around the pool and automatic pool covers are built into the hardscaping. The disadvantages are that it can be very time consuming to apply and remove the net and automatic covers can cost around $6,000, but are great options for the times of the year when you are not using your pool or aren’t using it often.
6. Learn CPR
Even when you take every other precaution, accidents can still happen. Knowing what to do if you find an unresponsive person in a swimming pool is vital and can save lives.