We may be approaching some cooler weather, but pool safety is a year-round issue… especially in Florida! If you have little ones or just want to make sure your pool is safe and ready to go, no matter who’s in it, keep in mind these simple safety tips:
Watching your pool and everyone around it is the first step—and possibly the most important—in pool safety. Be vigilant and keep an eye on young kids; even if you’re all gathered inside, they may find a way out toward the pool, and you want to make sure you know where they are at all times.
While it’s the most obvious tip, supervision is often easier said than done. Little ones can be sneaky—and fast. That’s why there are a few other methods you can put into place.
Your kids may not be old enough to swim (Fisher-Price.com says most aren’t developmentally able to learn the activity fully until they’re about four to five years old), but if they are, make sure swimming lessons is high on your list of priorities. Just like potty training, learning manners, numbers and letters, learning how to swim is a vital task. Knowing how to swim doesn’t mean we relax all our safety practices by the pool—it just makes the pool a safer, more familiar place for kids and will help them ease in more effectively.
In addition to teaching kids basic water skills and safety tips, it’s important to educate yourself on skills like CPR in case of an emergency. Refresh these skills regularly—hopefully you won’t ever have to use them, but it’s always best to be prepared!
Install the right equipment
The most basic equipment you can install to promote pool safety is a fence. PoolSafely.gov recommends one at least four feet tall. If your house is the fourth side of your fence, you’ll want to make it secure too—install door alarms and window guards on this side of the house for added protection. You can also pick up an alarm to install on your pool fence or on the edge of the pool itself—these will sound an alarm when someone opens the gate door or steps into the water. Make sure these are on and ready to go whenever you’re not in the pool.
While we’re on the subject of equipment, be mindful about the extra pool or outdoor equipment you don’t want your kids touching. Keep hoses, lawn tools, and other equipment away from little hands.
Keep a clean pool/spa
Apart from clearing the surface of leaves and debris with a skimmer, keep up with the proper filtration and chemical balances. Ask your local pool store for help with this—they can tell you everything you need to know and give you the stuff to keep your backyard pool or spa clean and safe for all swimmers.
When it comes to actually getting in the pool and swimming with young kids, know-how on skills and supervision is key. Stay with younger kids in the water and let them watch you be comfortable—they learn by example! While they may rely on water wings, life jackets or other floatation devices while just getting used to the water, try to ease them into swimming as time goes on. At the end of every session in the pool, try to give your kids some swimming time—whether they can do it on their own or need your hands for support, these repetition of body-to-water contact will, over time, develop the skills needed to swim independently.