Water Safety: Swimming Pool Hazards and Children
By Carl Pensington
Before you open your swimming pool for the season, or if
you are thinking of having a pool installed, you should
review the basic safety procedures. Even if you have had
that pool for a number of years, your family should review
the procedures to make sure that children don't become
victims of a water tragedy. Especially where children are
concerned, it only takes a moment for something to go wrong
and for tragedy to strike. Often this will happen when
those who are designated to supervise the children at the
pool become lax in their duties. People who get too used to
pools will often forget about the dangers involved.
Each year, many children lose their lives because they are
left alone near a swimming pool. Even children older than
toddlers should not be left alone. Resist your first
impluse to respond to the summons if your phone rings or
someone knocks at the door. Nothing is more important
than the safety of your children. If you leave them alone,
even if only for a moment, at the side of the pool to
attend to some other matter, you are endangering their
lives. There should be no choide at all about which
is the more important to attend to.
If receiving phone calls is important to you during the
time that you're by the pool with the kids, then have a
phone installed near the pool or bring a portable phone
along. In the case of someone coming to the door or calling
you from some other point around your home, such as over
the hedge, from the driveway or around the front of the
house, all you have to do is call for them to join you by
the pool. There's no need to leave the pool unless there's
an emergency, and, even then, the children should be
taken out of the pool and either brought along as you step
away, or left with another adult.
A swimming pool should always be separated from the house
by a fence, and some towns are now even making that a law.
The fence needs to be at least 4 feet in height and must
enclose the entire pool area. Too many tragedies have
occurred when toddlers wander away from the house and
fall into the pool. To prevent this, the gate to the pool
must be self-closing and the self-latching system must be
beyond the reach of young children. You should also have
proper rescue equipment, such as a life preserver and a
hooked tool that will aid in retrieval.
Do not allow children to use toys as life preservers. When
they are in the pool, they should wear approved life vests
rather than pool toys or safety gear. These are made of
thin plastic that can puncture easily and put the child's
life in jeopardy. Even if you are watching, they could
drown before emergency help can arrive. Distance can
be very important, and the general rule is to always stay
within an arm's length of children in or near the pool.
Another wise rule to follow is never to leave toys in the
pool once the children have left. Too often, they are
tempted to retrieve them and will end up falling into the
water when you are no longer watching.
Unless they are able to perform CPR, you should not give
anyone the responsiblity of supervising your children in a
pool. Classes are given at schools and community
organizations before the beginning of the swimming season,
and anyone who is interested can find a class. Take one of
these classes yourself and have everyone who will watch
your children do the same. Put your safety procedures in
place, and you can relax and enjoy a safe, fun summer.
About The Author
Carl Pensington operates the website Flx Pool which a site dedicated to researching Pool related topics and contains all the very latest Pool news and views.