10 Tips for Preventing Accidental Drowning in Your Backyard Pool

swimWhen the sun’s hot summer rays are beating down, a backyard swimming pool is a cool, inviting oasis. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous things on your property. Making sure that your pool is reasonably safeguarded to help prevent drowning is your responsibility as a parent and a pool owner, and it’s not always easy to know where to start. These ten tips can help you make your backyard swimming pool a little bit safer place.

  • Teach Your Children to Swim – While there’s no way to “drown-proof” a child, making sure that every child in your family knows how to swim is one of the most effective ways to help prevent accidental drowning. Make sure that your kids learn to swim at an early age so that they are reasonably equipped to protect themselves in the event of an accidental fall.
  • Install a Fence – A swimming pool is a beacon to every child in the neighborhood, which is why it’s important to install a fence with a self-latching gate around your pool area that’s at least four feet tall. Remember: kids that can’t access your swimming pool can’t inadvertently drown in it.
  • Put Alarms on Doors Leading to the Pool Area – If doors within your house lead directly to the pool area, it’s wise to consider the installation of alarms that will sound if those doors are opened. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that up to 46% of children that drowned in their family’s backyard pool were last seen inside the house before being found in the pool, and that 15% of them were believed to be sleeping when the incident occurred. Making sure that your kids can’t slip out of the house and into the pool area is one of the most effective things you can do in terms of preventing their accidental drowning.
  • Ban Drinking in the Pool Area – Most drowning deaths in the United States involve young children, but there’s a significant portion of the adult population that drowns after learning the hard way that water and alcohol don’t mix. Relaxing by the pool with an adult beverage or two might be a soothing way to wind down after a long day, but it’s dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Install Underwater Motion Alarms – There are commercially-available devices that will sound an alarm if the surface of the water is disturbed by objects or bodies falling into the water. Models that detect underwater motion are more highly recommended, but either is better than no alarm at all.
  • Never Let Kids Swim Unattended – It should go without saying, but kids should never be allowed to swim without the supervision of an adult who’s able to swim proficiently enough to retrieve them in the event of an accident and who can perform CPR if it’s needed.
  • Learn CPR – You may make every possible effort to secure your pool and safeguard against accidental drowning incidents, but will still not be able to completely rule out the possibility of an accident. That’s why it’s essential for kids and adults alike to know CPR and be well-versed in emergency management.
  • Invest in a High Quality Pool Cover – Summertime is the peak season for pool-related drownings, but plenty of incidents occur in the colder months and are not prevented by flimsy winter covers. Make sure that your seasonal cover is of a high-quality and has a strong safety rating.
  • Maintain Suction Covers and Drains – Improperly functioning suction covers and drains can pose a very real drowning risk, even for accomplished swimmers. As such, making sure that your pool is maintained and in good working order is the mark of a responsible and conscientious pool owner.
  • Keep Flotation Devices in Reach – Should someone fall into your pool and an onlooker is incapable of swimming well enough to pull them to safety, you should make sure that there are adequate flotation devices stocked within easy reach around the perimeter of the pool area.

Your swimming pool doesn’t have to be a dangerous place. With proper preparation and attention to detail, it can be the relaxing and refreshing oasis it was intended to be.

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