Summertime means pool time. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a dip in the pool or a day at a waterpark. But all that refreshingly cool water doesn’t mean anything if you end up slipping on a wet spot and hurt yourself. There are several ways to keep yourself and your family safe while they gather around the pool this summer. First and foremost is to not let children out of your sight. Do not let them run around a pool, as the water can make surfaces slippery which can lead to a child breaking a bone or falling into the water.
Between 2005 and 2008, an average of 35 deaths occurred per year involving children 4 or younger. Children may not always be aware of the dangers associated with pools and may try to enter them unsupervised. To counteract this, make sure in ground pools are surrounded by a fence at least 4 feet high with gates that open away from the pool and self latch when closed. If possible, have these gates alarmed to alert you if someone has opened them. Above ground pools should have the ladder removed and should be covered. Jacuzzis and hot tubs should be closed and locked.
Any children in the pool should be supervised at all times, preferably by adults who know CPR. At the very least, have a cell phone immediately available in case of an emergency. Looking away even for “just a second” is always when disaster can strike. Make sure children who are inexperienced swimmers have life jackets on while in the pool. Keep the drains of a pool covered with a safety grate to keep kids from being pulled into the drain from the suction.
The buddy system is a common practice for lakes and ocean swimming, but it can also be helpful around the pool at home. Have two children be buddies and if you or another adult see one child without the other, check the pool first before searching elsewhere. Make sure everyone involved in supervising children in a pool, ocean, lake, or other deep water knows how to swim. Finally, ensure pool chemicals are properly stored in an inaccessible, locked cabinet. Do not allow children to help with adding chlorine or other chemical treatments to the water. Chlorine is highly acidic, and in 2012, almost 5000 people were treated for chemical burns related to pools.