While summer is a time for fun and sun in the outdoors each year, at least 200 children lose their lives in pools during this season. The Red Cross sponsors several campaigns and provides safety tips for Americans to keep themselves and their families safe when there is a pool or hot tub on the property. These are some vital tips to remember.
- Secure the pool with barriers. Every pool should be surrounded with a sturdy fence that is at least 4 feet high. There should be a self-latching gate with a hinge that makes it close on its own. If these rules are not followed and a violation is discovered during an inspection with or without incident, the pool may be excluded from liability coverage.
- Keep unoccupied pools and spas covered. Use a hard cover or an approved pool net to keep pools and spas covered. Do not use a tarp or any type of covering that is not fitted by a professional. Many children drown each year when they climb on inadequate covers. Keeping the pool or hot tub covered also reduces risks of mosquito problems. Be sure to remove any access ladders or steps when they are not in use.
- Install a pool alarm. There are several different types of alarms. Spend some time researching them to find the right one for individual needs. Pool alarms go off whenever someone enters the pool or the fenced pool area. Since it only takes a few minutes for tragedy to strike, these alarms are a must for summer when children are at home and cannot be visually supervised every minute.
- Supervise children while they swim. An adult should be present at all times when children are in the pool. If young children are swimming, stay in the pool or by the pool’s edge. As a rule, they should never be more than an arm’s reach away. For young kids who cannot swim safely yet, use life jackets that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Enroll all family members in swimming lessons. All people in the home should know how to swim. Lessons should be ongoing until an entire course is completed. The Red Cross provides swimming lessons in nearly every city. Adults should be proactive and take first aid and CPR classes from the Red Cross to be prepared for any emergencies.
- Keep pools and hot tubs clean. Water should be changed when necessary. Use nets to scoop out bugs and leaves. Be sure to test pools and hot tubs for a proper balance of chemicals. Also, check the filtration and circulation systems for proper function. Many children develop rashes, illnesses and ear infections from unsanitary home pools and hot tubs.
- Implement a set of pool rules. It helps to post the rules in a visible place. Ask young kids to recite the rules before they use the pool each time, and take away pool privileges if they break the rules. These are some important rules to include:
- No dunking others
- No running
- No diving
- Stay away from drains
- No drinking pool water
- Swim with a buddy
- Use ladders safely
Also, be sure that teens know how to call for help if they are supervising younger siblings. Although an adult should always be present, it helps to teach kids how to use a phone to call 911. In the event of an adult needing to perform CPR, a child could call 911, set the phone to speaker mode and help the adult talk to the operators to arrange for help. Learn more about pool safety as preventive measure and speak to an agent about your insurance coverage on pool accidents.