Pools come in every shape and size, and offer refreshing relief during hot summer weather. While pools provide tremendous amounts of fun, they also have inherent dangers. Drowning, slipping, falling, and traumatic injury are all common risks, but using these home swimming pool safety tips can help keep you and yours safe while soaking in the sun.
Rules for Having a Pool in Your Backyard
Drowning, by far, carries the most significant amount of risks and children are the most likely victims. Between 2015 and 2017, 6,400 children were treated for non-fatal drowning incidents. During that same time period, 1,000 children lost their lives. In 2017, drowning was the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 14.
A parent or guardian cannot remove all of the risks but through careful consideration and diligent observations they can mitigate the risk. Establishing a set of rules of having a pool in your backyard helps swimmers understand how to stay safe and avoid injury.
Some basic home swimming pool safety tips include:
- Swimming under supervision: Being alone in a pool can be dangerous as there is no one there to assist you during an emergency. Make sure to swim in pairs or groups with at least one adult present.
- No pushing, running, or diving: Most home swimming pools are not deep enough for diving, and frequent splashing leads to slippery pool decks.
- Use floatation devices: Any swimmers who are not confident in their skills should wear a life vest or floaties, especially for younger swimmers.
Pool Safety Tips
When you own a swimming pool, you have a responsibility to keep guests safe. Protect yourself, your property, and all swimmers by installing the proper safety equipment and precautions using these home swimming pool safety tips:
- Install a proper barrier around the pool: Pool barriers keep children from accessing the pool when there is not proper supervision. This barrier could include a fence, gate, or barrier wall, and should completely protect the pool enclosure. Barrier gates must open away from the pool and have a self closure and self-latching mechanism. Above ground pools located at least 42 inches from the ground do not require a fence so long as the ladder or stairs are removable or lockable. If the above ground pool is less than 42 inches it can be enclosed with a barrier attached to the pool.
- Review pool attachments and toys: Slides, ladders, stairs, diving boards, skimmers, drains, and jets can all lead to injury if not properly monitored and maintained. Any metal structures fastened to the pool deck can fatigue and rust, becoming structurally unsound and unsafe. A fall from six or eight feet above a concrete or solid pool deck can cause significant injury. Diving boards introduce risk if your pool is not at least 8 feet deep, and weather and exposure can cause wood, fiberglass, or composite materials to eventually fail.
- Check drains and pool construction: While drains cycle water back through the filters, pumps, and mechanical equipment, they can also be an enticing source of fun for a child. Children may be tempted to swim down to the bottom and play with the suction, but this can lead to suction injury or drowning. Modern installation standards require drains to no longer be flush and now raised. The raising of the drain helps prevent most of the entrapment risk.
- Apply texture to the pool deck: When you get out of a pool dripping wet, you are creating a slip and fall risk to everyone in and around the pool. This is why most pool decks have some form of texture, as a smooth surface can be as slippery as walking on ice. Most people do not have footwear on while swimming, but it can help with traction and prevent your feet from abrasion or injury. A trip hazard is any one inch raised surface but, it does not take much to stub a toe or cut your foot. Inspecting and monitoring your pool surface for those injury points is key to safety. This would include looking for slip or damaged wood, damaged or split brick or concrete and cracking.
These enclosures, barriers, and surfaces need to be inspected at least annually as part of your seasonal home maintenance checklist. Wood can deteriorate. Metal can fatigue and rust. PVC and break down and fracture. Gates and loosen and handles and locks can break. Thoroughly reviewing the entire perimeter of the pool enclosure should be a part of your normal maintenance routine.
Inspect Your Pool for Endless Enjoyment with The BrickKicker!
Pools can provide hours or enjoyment and social interaction but do have inherent risks. Most of the risks can be managed through good custodial ownership and maintenance. It is important to schedule an annual pool inspection as sometimes it takes a different set of eyes to keep everyone safe. Contact us to have The BrickKicker help you with these important tasks!