A backyard swimming pool can offer an entire season of fun in the sun. However, everyone should follow a few pool safety tips to ensure a safe and emergency-free summer. If you are knowledgeable and prepared, you can hopefully avoid pool-related injuries and illnesses for your family and your guests.
Children, in particular, are more vulnerable around water, so it’s important to review pool rules periodically. First, go over pool safety at the beginning of swim season and occasionally throughout the summer. Then, review them whenever guests come over to swim or play as well.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Encourage Walking
Children can get especially exuberant when they haven’t been swimming in a while or are celebrating. Excitement often leads to skipping, jumping, and running, leading to slipping on wet concrete.
Falls can lead to severe injuries, so it’s critical that you remind everyone to walk. Also, remind everyone that pushing, shoving, and jumping on others is dangerous.
2. Ensure Cracks Are Filled
If your pool concrete is cracking, take the time to make the necessary repairs. Making these repairs promptly will help protect everyone from tripping. Avoid those stubbed toes or even more severe falls by taking care of the entire pool area and protecting your family’s safety.
Repairing cracks will also alert you to any underlying issues with your swimming pool and improve the overall aesthetics of your pool area. It will be a win-win situation for you.
3. Balance Chemicals
Balancing the pool chemicals in your water is essential for keeping your pool water clean and healthy because it reduces the likelihood of algae and bacteria growth. It also helps ensure that the water is not too harsh for your skin or eyes. After you balance the chemicals in your pool water, remember to properly store the chemicals in a safe place away from children and pets.
4. Clean the Pool
Keeping the pool water crystal clear and healthy takes more than just balancing the chemicals. You can make this cleaning process more manageable by keeping the water and pool area clean at all times. You can use everyday household products to clean your water and pool equipment.
When cleaning, take the extra time to clean accessories like water fountains and slides, pool toys, patio furniture, and your pool deck. Anything that goes in the pool or remains near it should be cleaned regularly.
5. Look Out for Bees
Bees are essential to the environment, but when it comes to backyard fun, they can quickly ruin the mood. They’re often a nuisance and a life-threatening pest in the worst-case scenario. If you have friends or family with allergies, it is critical to keep bees away from the pool area.
Whether you change the landscaping to make it less appealing, divert them to other water sources, employ repellents, or use a combination of methods, keeping the bees away will make everyone’s swimming experience more pleasant. If you find the nest, do not try to kill or relocate them on your own – contact an experienced beekeeper or exterminator for relocation assistance.
6. Ensure Pool Depth Is Visible
If you cannot clearly see to the bottom of the pool, you cannot effectively monitor swimmers when they are underwater. Cloudy, murky, or otherwise dirty water can prevent you from immediately noticing a struggling swimmer, so you should not allow swimming in these circumstances.
This goes back to keeping the pool water clear of debris and ensuring your chemicals are balanced correctly. If you struggle to balance your chemicals and keep the water clear, such as with a severe algae problem, you may need to drain the pool and start fresh.
7. Avoid Swimming in Thunderstorms
If storms are rolling in, it’s time to exit the pool. Lightning can strike suddenly and often hits the water. As water is a conductor of electricity, this is extremely dangerous.
Everyone should immediately take cover and stay out of the water until the storm passes. The general rule of thumb is that everyone should wait at least 30 minutes after the storm has ended before returning to the pool area and reentering the water.
8. Provide Sunscreen
Every hour spent swimming or lounging by the pool is an hour out in the sun. To prevent sunburn or an increased risk of skin cancer, the CDC recommends wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen that is designed to block both UVA and UVB rays. It should have a minimum SPF of 15 or higher.
Sunscreen will wear off, so you should reapply it every two hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off. Also, remember to check the expiration date.
If you’re having a pool party or having guests over, be sure to provide sunscreen in case your visitors forget theirs! When you’re out of the pool, you can continue to protect your skin from sun damage by wearing a brimmed hat and sunglasses and sitting in the shade.
9. Ensure a Lockable Pool Cover Is Set Up
Leaf net, solar, and debris covers, while useful, are NOT equivalent to safety covers. In fact, any pool cover that’s not a safety cover can actually be a safety risk.
Pool safety covers are held securely in place with “anchors”. Automatic pool covers are even more secure, as they seal off the swimming pool on all sides. This ensures that a person or animal can’t accidentally fall in and get tangled in the cover.
The type of pool cover you use will depend on your budget, family needs, and possibly local ordinances, but if the cover is being used to prevent accidental drowning, then you need a true, anchored, safety cover or automatic safety cover.
10. Install a Secure Fence
To increase pool safety, fencing around the pool will reduce the likelihood of children or pets entering the area to take an unsupervised swim or accidental fall. Of course, the type of fence you install will depend on your budget and aesthetic preferences. Still, it should meet all local ordinances regarding pools.
When choosing your fence, you’ll find various wood, wrought iron, mesh, aluminum, and glass options. Some, like wood, will offer more privacy, but others allow for unobstructed views of the pool area. Other materials are more difficult for children or animals to climb. You should consider all of these factors before making your final decision.
All gates that allow access to the swimming pool area should be self-closing and self-latching. Consider adding additional security locks inside your gates for when you are away from home.
Four-sided isolation fences should completely separate the home and play areas whenever possible. However, if your house is one of the barriers around the pool, consider installing door alarms to alert you if someone exits the house without your knowledge or permission.
11. Ensure Proper Training in Safety Procedures
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths worldwide, but in many cases, it is preventable. Unfortunately, drowning does not discriminate; anyone of any age is at risk, even experienced swimmers.
Here are a few basic safety reminders that are important for everyone when around pools and spas:
- Ensure everyone understands pool safety and follows the rules (no running, never swimming alone, etc.)
- When a child is missing, look in the pool or spa first
- Learn how to swim; teach your children how to swim
- Ensure that at least one responsible adult is always watching swimmers – if everyone is gathered around the patio chatting, a child could fall in, or someone could stay underwater too long without being noticed.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults and keep your skills updated
- Keep a first aid kit, flotation device, and phone nearby in case of an emergency. Make sure all safety devices are well-maintained and within easy reach.
- Ensure that children know to notify an adult immediately if they suspect someone is having difficulty in the water
Pool Safety Should Be on Any Pool Owner’s Mind
The best way to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool is to ensure that it’s always safe for all swimmers. Ensuring that your pool and the surrounding area are free from hazards and that everyone is up to date on your rules and safety at the pool is a great start.
You’ll also want to ensure you follow routine pool maintenance and keep the pool chemically balanced for safe and healthy swimming. Following these pool safety tips will help guarantee that your summers are full of fun memories.
A clean pool is a safe pool. To keep your water clean, quality pool tools are a must. Our pool net is durable, easy to use, and has a lifetime guarantee to make your job just a little bit easier.
If you have questions or concerns about maintaining your pool or pool safety, contact ProTuff today. One of our friendly associates will be happy to assist you!
Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions you may have.