The Checklist For Pool Safety   

by Pool Builders on 10-12-2010 in Articles

Pools are a lot of fun, but they can also be quite dangerous for children, especially small children or those who have not yet learnt how to swim well. There is absolutely no reason why your pool can't be a great place for your family, if you thoughtfully minimize the risks. There are two different areas you need to think through for ensuring pool safety - pool and people. We've put together this checklist to make sure your pool, and your people management means that no one will drown.

The Pool:

1. Have a fence that is at least a metre high, preferably 1.5 metres high. This stops children being able to climb over the fence in a mischievous joke, in case they fall in. A fence is critical for those early mornings when the kids are left to their own devices while you sleep in. Do not have anything children could use to climb the fence near it, and have a child proof lock.
2. Invest in a pool cover, and make sure it fits properly, overlaps by a significant amount and has adequate anchors to be kept firmly in place even if someone falls onto it, or tries to shift it without untying it.
3. Always have a floatation device, usually a blow up ring near the water, on the poolside of the fence. Many families also have a rope stored with the ring in order to throw to weaker swimmers to drag them to the side.
4. When building your pool, make sure you have a shallow section where children can easily stand so they can have breaks from swimming if they get tired. Build a step big enough for an adult to sit on with a toddler, to minimize the risk of drowning.
5. Invest in a pool cleaner with a long chord/tube that stays on the floor of the pool, and has few moving parts so children don't get trapped.

The People:

* Don't let your children, or their friends swim without you watching them. Buy some comfortable pool side chairs that you can read or work in, so there is no need to leave the scene.
* Explain any risks pertaining to the pool pump so children aren't fearful of it, but keep a fair distance.
* Never let people without swimming ability near the pool unsupervised.
* When your children turn 4, enroll them in a certified swimming program to ensure they understand how to swim.
* Avoid letting your children swim directly after meals, as many drowning incidents occur because of cramps.
* In cold weather and transitional seasons, encourage your children to stretch before swimming, as cold water increases the risk of cramps.
* Always watch your children near the water. Take your home phone, mobile and anything else that could cause you to "pop inside for a minute" with you, and never leave the pool for any substantial amount of time.
* Discourage rough dunking games, and develop a series of pool rules so your children and their guests understand that holding people under water may seem funny, but it is very dangerous.
* Enrol in a first aid course in case something does happen, and call the ambulance if you have any concerns.

Finally, remember pools are a lot of fun but many children in Australia may have come from families or cultures where swimming isn't a common activity. Even with teenage children, make sure they can swim before they reach the pool.

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