8 Ways To Protect Your Happy Place
Your beautiful backyard pool or spa is your oasis, your happy place. You want a safe and relaxing experience. But pools can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. About 3,400 drowning deaths* happen each year, so it’s important that you protect your pool.
1. Be Around, Don’t Drown
There is no replacement for adult supervision. Even two inches of water in a bath tub can cause a tragedy for a small child. Keep new swimmers within arms-reach and don’t let yourself be distracted.
2. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Unsupervised children under 5 can get in pools, not understanding the danger. Even neighbor’s children can wander over for a dip. Install 4-foot non-climbable fencing around the perimeter of your pool or spa. The balusters/spindles should be spaced no more than 4 inches apart. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that swing outward, not toward the water.
3. Make Waves
Teach your child basic water safety skills like how to float and tread water. Most accidents happen very quickly and quietly, so teach children to shout for help and attract attention when needed.
4. Life Savers
Have life saving devices such as vests, life rings, or a reaching pole available and easily accessible for a rescue. It is also a good idea to keep a phone near the pool in case of emergency.
5. Don’t Get Sucked In
Ensure your pool or spa has an “anti-entrapment” safety drain cover in good condition. This prevents someone from being trapped under water due to powerful suction from the water circulation system. It is recommended that these drain covers are replaced every five years. Check with your pool service person or a certified pool inspector.
6. Bond For Life
Make sure your pool or spa equipment is grounded and bonded to protect against shocking someone. Grounding re-directs the electricity to the earth (usually) and it dissipates. Bonding connects the pool equipment together so electricity won’t try to jump from one piece of equipment to another. It is best to have a professional check this monthly on older pools.
7. Arm With Alarm
If your home opens to the pool or spa area, put a 30-second child safety alarm on those doors which lead to the pool. This alarm will alert you when a young child is opening the door. Most have an automatic reset feature (button or code) to deactivate the alarm for older people to pass without setting it off and can be temporarily disabled during high-traffic times like a party.
8. Above It All
Above ground pool walls can be the barrier to small children if the wall is 48 inches tall. However, make sure to remove the ladder or install other barriers like the fencing and gates mentioned in section 2.
You want your pool to be a relaxing place. Just remember to take care of your pool’s safety, and you can relax in your oasis with peace of mind, knowing you have prevented the most common cause of accidents for children under 5 years old. Enjoy your happy place.
To learn more visit http://www.poolsafety.gov for more information.