Poolside Protection: It's More Than Wearing Sunscreen
From fun summer pool parties to relaxing on a float, it's easy to get excited about owning a pool, as long as you keep safety in mind. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, there were 5,400 pool or spa-related injuries each year from 2012-2014, and 382 pool or spa-related drownings per year from 2010-2012 involving children under the age of 15. Of the non-fatal injuries from 2012-2014, 49% occurred at a residence. Statistics like these are scary, but these types of accidents can be prevented if you are mindful of pool safety.
General Water Safety
Before summer starts, it's a good idea to make sure your family understands the basic rules of water safety whether you own a pool or not.
- Make sure everyone in the family knows how to swim, especially kids. If not, check with the local YMCA, Red Cross or your community pool if you have one to see if they offer lessons so that proper breathing techniques are taught in addition to the mechanics of swimming.
- Show your kids where the pool drains are and tell them to avoid those areas. If clothing or hair get caught in the drain, it can be impossible for a swimmer to break free.
- Learn how to perform CPR in adults and children. Pool accidents can happen quickly, and timing is of the essence in getting help. Performing CPR as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death.
- Have a rule in place that kids should not swim alone. If someone gets a muscle cramp or caught in a drain, someone else can pull them to safety and call for help. If those things happen and there's nobody around to help, the results could be tragic.
Poolside Safety Equipment
It's smart to have a few items near the pool to assist in case of an emergency, such as:
- A portable phone to call 911 and follow the 911 operator's instructions in case you can do anything to help save a swimmer's life until paramedics arrive
- A life preserver ring or other flotation device
- A life hook to pull someone out of the water
- A first aid kit
- Scissors to cut clothing or hair that may be trapping someone in a pool drain
- A lockable cover for spas
Gates and Fences
It's been said that good fences make good neighbors. That's especially true when it comes to swimming pool fences. A fence around the perimeter of your yard isn't just for privacy--it will keep people out of your pool who aren't supposed to be there.
When installing your fence, make sure it's the kind that someone can't climb to access your pool, and make sure it has a locking gate. For an extra measure of protection, install an alarm on the gate and get a pool alarm that will alert you when the pool water has been disturbed.
If you have small children, a locking safety fence around the pool's perimeter is also a good idea. This is separate from a privacy fence. It doesn't take long for a child to wander out of the house and into the pool before you even know they are gone, and that's when an accident can easily happen. In less than two minutes underwater, a child can lose consciousness. It may take you that long to realize the child isn't even in the house. Most pool fences can be removed easily by adults.
Be Alert and Aware
Watch kids when they are in the pool, particularly if they don't know where the pool drains are. Your guests or your children's guests may not know where the drains are or how dangerous they can be. In addition, accidents can happen when kids are just playing around in the pool, particularly if they are rough-housing or running alongside the pool.
Update Your Coverage
If you decide to install a pool, contact your Shelter agent to include it in your policy. While nobody wants anyone to get hurt in their pool, if you don't inform your agent that you have a pool, there's a chance that you wouldn't be covered if someone does get hurt and sues you. Your agent can advise you on the appropriate coverage you need so you can just sit back, relax and stay cool in your pool. And if you're thinking about having a pool party, check out our Pinterest board for fun and creative ideas.