The most important safety rules for your outdoor pool

June 14, 2016

Nothing beats sitting out by the pool with a cold ice tea in hand, judging the handstands and dives of the kids. The echoes of evening Marco Polo games keep you amused even after summer is over and the pool is closed. But as you know, having a pool isn't just a responsibility, it's also a privilege. That might sound cliché, but it's not a luxury you should take lightly! Take some time to remind yourself of all the pool safety rules before the summer gets into full swing. 

Here are some basic pool rules you should have locked in your memory before you start hosting your famous pool parties:

1. Make sure you pool is in an enclosed space.
Rule No. 1 to owning a pool is making sure it's safe for everyone - not just your own family. Unfortunately, curious neighborhood children might not be as strong of swimmers as your kids are, so if they wander over without proper supervision, you might be liable for a sticky situation. The American Red Cross explains that your pool therefore needs to be secured with adequate barriers like a fence. The suggested height of an appropriate fence is about four feet high, and it must close off the pool completely and include a self-latching gate.

The Red Cross also noted that in order to be on the super safe side, you could cover your pool or hot tub when they are not in use. There are even pool alarms you can install in order to deter anyone from entering the pool without supervision.

2. Make sure your water is clean before anyone gets in. 
Safety also means taking the proper precautions to ensure the water is sanitary before anyone takes his or her first dip. There are chemical testing kits that you should invest in to make sure chlorine and other pool chemicals are at a safe level. You should also check regularly throughout the season. 

"Check your pool toys."

This also means you need to make sure all the pool equipment is good to go as well, adds Swimming Pool Magazine. Make sure there are no sharp edges that might catch exposed skin, and check or replace rickety ladders that might break easily. Also check your pool toys. Do they have any rips or tears that might deflate once they are in the water? Pool toys that are not inflated properly could be a serious drowning hazard.

3. Have necessary rescue tools on hand. 
You hope to never have to use them, but it's best to have rescue tools within your enclosed pool space in case you have to do a quick save. Water rescue equipment includes first aid kits, throw ropes or reaching poles, buoys and signs indicating how deep certain waters are. Should you have to perform a rescue, try to stay as calm as possible. 

You should also consider taking a basic CPR or train and rescue class. But here are some quick steps to follow from the state of Washington that will hold you over until you get certified:

  • If the victim is unresponsive you should immediately call 911. The source explains the dispatcher can help with CPR directives.
  • Next make sure the victim is on their back and begin chest compressions. Push down in the center of the chest 30 times. You should be pumping fast - about 100 per minute.
  • Then tilt their head back by the chin, pinch their nose and breathe into their mouth until you see the chest rise. Give two breaths, one second each. 

Again, this instruction is by no means comprehensive, so it's best if you are trained by a professional so you can practice. 

Fun in the sun starts with a little pool safety this summer. Fun in the sun starts with a little pool safety this summer.

4. Never let children swim unsupervised. 
Not even for a minute should you let children swim unsupervised. It only takes a second for a serious accident to occur, so you or another trusted adult need to be there to deal with it appropriately. It's also important to teach your children to swim as early as you can, notes Swimming Pool Magazine. This is especially true if you have a pool. However, you should never count on the swimming ability of even the strongest swimmers, accidents can happen to anyone. 

5. No running by the pool.
This is an easy rule to remember, but an even easier one to break. As kids start to get excited about getting in the water they tend to amp up their energy and move a little faster. But, after the last cannon ball competition, puddles have likely started to form by the edges making it easy for anyone to slip and get hurt. Be sure to enforce this rule by your poolside this summer to make sure everyone stays safe. Also be sure to monitor or forbid any roughhousing or dangerous dives into the pool. 

6. Never swim in thunder storms.
Swimming in the rain is one thing - but swimming after you hear thunder? That's a big no-no. Water attracts electricity, so should lightening strike you want to be as far away from the pool as possible. At the first sign of a thunder storm be sure to immediately pack up and head indoors. And speaking of electrical shocks - keep electrical appliances away from the pool area. If you need to have music, consider installing outdoor speakers that won't be easy to accidentally drop in the pool. 

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