In Weston, a backyard pool can be beneficial for kids. Swimming is not only fun, it is terrific exercise. In addition, a pool can set the scene for hours of quality family time, as well as playtime with friends.
However, if you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take, including these:
- Always have an adult nearby. Even if you’re a great swimmer, you never know when you might need help.
- Set a good example so younger kids know how to behave. The pool is only safe when EVERYONE follows the rules.
- Tell an adult if there’s a problem. You don’t want to get hurt, so let an adult take care of it.
- Check the water depth. You don’t want to get hurt diving into water that’s too shallow.
- Always wear sunscreen. Without it, you could end up with painful sunburn, which can lead to other health problems.
- No running! You could slip or trip; hurting not just yourself, but someone else as well.
- Put toys away. People might trip over them and hurt themselves. No one wants that!
- Barricade the pool completely. Experts recommend a fence of at least four feet tall, with slats close enough together that kids can’t squeeze between them. Make sure there are no handholds or footholds for agile climbers.
- Secure the gate with a lock. The best gates are self-closing and self-latching. Position the latches well out of reach of children. Install an audible gate alarm that will alert you inside the house if the gate is opened.
- Get an in-the-water pool alarm too — one that will alert you if anyone jumps or falls in the pool
- In your home, secure doors and windows leading to the pool, so kids don’t have access from inside the house
- Keep potential “step stools” away from the fence. That means storing patio chairs, planters, and other climbable items away from your outside perimeter.
- Make sure your child learns how to swim, but never assume that he or she is safe in the water alone. Many parents overestimate their children’s swimming competencies. Always, always supervise.
- Never leave the pool cover partially on when kids are swimming, because they might become trapped under it.
- Remove pool steps and ladders when you’re not using them.
- Keep a house phone or cell phone nearby when supervising kids in the pool. This way, you won’t be tempted to leave the kids to answer the phone, and you can call for help if needed. Post emergency numbers close at hand.
- Learn CPR. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules.
- Keep rescue equipment by the pool.
Usually the pool is a rich experience for children’s development and we want it to remain that way, so it is important to follow these safety tips for the pool with children.