Summer and early fall are still popular for backyard BBQs and if you have a swimming pool you can be sure guests of all ages will bring swim trunks to your soiree. Make sure family and friends stay safe while on your property by being aware of basic pool safety rules, especially if you have children under five in your tribe. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 children age 1-5 drown in a pool or spa each year. The greatest water safety assurance in swimming pools and spas comes from adopting and practicing as many water safety measures as possible because you never know which one will make a difference—until it does.
One of your best lines of defense is to ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area and are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, away from the pool. Other layers of protection may include a pool cover or underwater motion pool alarm. Pool security alarms use a sonar grid beneath the water’s surface to detect any breach from body weights as small as 15 pounds. They are always on, so there is no way for a child or pet to sneak or fall into the water without an alarm sounding. One popular model listed on Amazon is the Poolguard PGRM -2 priced around $175.
Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa. Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children near the water at all times. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight so they do not attract young children.
Teach children basic water safety tips, and keep them away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments. Drain entrapments are frequently the result of a child’s body, limbs, hair or clothing becoming entangled with a faulty drain. Ensure your pool or spa has drain covers that comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.Many suction outlet covers manufactured since November 12, 2008, have a “VGB 2008″ marking.
Learn to swim and teach your children how to swim. Learning to swim well takes time, so don’t expect that children will learn to swim in one set of lessons or even one season. Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
Outfit your pool area with appropriate safety equipment. At a minimum, pool owners should keep emergency information posted near the pool, an emergency whistle, and lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats, or a reaching pole readily accessible.
Visit PoolSafely.gov for more information.
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