Swimming pools have long been the pinnacle of backyard luxury. They not only add value to your property, they add quality to your free time. Whether providing the perfect setting for daytime get-togethers or offering a quiet place to relax and unwind after a busy week, few additions can compare to a pool. Unfortunately, pools can pose danger--especially to small children--if they are not designed and outfitted properly. Here are 5 easy ways to prevent swimming pool accidents from happening.
1.Install a Fence
A well-stocked first aid kit and a rescue-grade flotation device are two items no pool should be without.
Pool fences can add beauty to your backyard, but they can also be an incredibly effective tool for preventing accidents. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a four sided fence that separates the pool on all sides from the house and the yard reduces a child's risk of drowning 83% over a three sided fence that runs along the property line.
2.Employ Anti-Slip Technologies
Wet surfaces around your pool are pretty much unavoidable, but you can make these surfaces less likely to cause an accident by using any number of different anti-slip products. If your pool is already built, there are adhesive pads and paint-on coatings that can give the surrounding areas better grip. If your pool hasn't been constructed yet, talk to your contractor about the wide range of surfaces and pool designs that can reduce the chances of poolside slips.
3.Update Your Drain Covers
Pools are not just holes in the ground; the water they contain is continuously being circulated and filtered. The drains in your pool, therefore, produce a certain amount of suction--suction that can be very dangerous under the right circumstances. Pool entrapment (when a swimmer's body, hair, limb, or clothing becomes entangled in a drain or grate) might not be the most common pool accident, but it is a serious one. The likelihood of this situation occurring can be greatly reduced or even eliminated by making sure that your drain covers are both in good repair and are compliant with federal regulations. As an additional precaution, vacuum release systems are available that will turn off the suction when and if a blockage is detected.
4.Have Safety Equipment Close At Hand
If an injury does occur inside a pool, a quick response and a minimal amount of safety equipment on the premises can mean the difference between a bump on the noggin and a complete disaster. A well-stocked first aid kit and a rescue-grade flotation device are two items no pool should be without. Having a phone nearby and the address of the home posted are other precautions that can save time in an emergency situation.
5.Don't Underestimate a Child's Curiosity
Though adults certainly sustain plenty of poolside injuries each year, kids are in a class all by themselves. Splash alarms, safety pool covers, and any other device designed to keep kids out of trouble are no substitute for the watchful eye of a responsible adult! Children don't see the world the way adults do, and what might seem an obviously dangerous activity to a grown-up can simply look like a good time to a kid. No child should be allowed in the pool unsupervised, and it is important to make the pool less attractive when an adult is not present by clearing the area of toys that might lure a curious child near the pool alone.
While not exactly a pool injury, parents and all pool-goers should keep in mind that swallowing pool water is not a healthy activity. Despite the chemicals used to keep a pool clean, the number of gastrointestinal illnesses caused by swallowing pool water has been on the rise in recent years. Obviously, for a person in real peril, residual stomach ailments are probably the least of their worries. However, kids and pets in perfect health can find themselves feeling unhealthy pretty quickly if the simple rule of "don't drink the water" is broken.