Wet and Unwild: Practicing Pool Safety

Before your kids take the plunge into your backyard pool or neighborhood aquatic center this summer, it’s important to review some safety tips.

Swimming pools can be a source of summertime enjoyment for your kids, but they can also be dangerous. The American Red Cross notes more than 200 children drown in backyard pools each year.

The Red Cross and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend the following pool safety guidelines for children and adults:

  • Actively supervise children at all times when they’re in the pool and stay within arm’s reach of younger kids.
  • Teach your children to stay away from pool drains because their limbs, hair, jewelry or bathing suits can get stuck in a suction opening or drain.
  • Check that all pools and spas (in your backyard and at any pool your kids visit) have compliant drain covers.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows how to swim well, and if they don’t, enroll them in age-appropriate water orientation and swim classes in your community.
  • Take a CPR class from the Red Cross or other organization so you know how to perform CPR on children and adults, and verify that you have appropriate pool safety equipment available.
  • Establish and enforce pool safety behaviors and rules, including “swim with a buddy,” “please walk around the pool,” “no diving,” and “stay away from the drain covers.”
  • Keep your swimming pool or hot tub water clear and clean, and maintain proper filtration, circulation and chemical levels.
  • Use appropriate barriers – such as a 4-foot high fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate, a safety cover, the removal of ladders or steps used for access, and a pool alarm activated when someone enters the pool – to secure and completely surround your pool.

For resources on water safety and classroom education please contact the Children’s Wellness and Safety Center at (813) 615-0589.