Keeping your backyard pool safe is a concern for all pool owners. Your concerns can be heightened if you have small children. Of course, you will want to fence the yard or pool to discourage unwanted visitors, but here are steps you can take to keep your family and guests safe.
Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in children under the age of 15. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the primary cause of drowning for children ages 1-4 is home swimming pools. Three of the main causes of drowning are:
- Lack of Swimming Ability: Research shows that formal swimming lessons can lessen the drowning risk for children aged 1 to 4 years.
- Lack of Barriers: Barriers, such as fences, prevent children from getting to the pool area without caregivers being aware. One good idea is to construct your fence so it isolates the pool from your house and yard, which can reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 83%.
- Lack of Close Supervision: For small children, additional safety measures (which can also work for pets) include: Door alarms on your house, lockable safety covers for the pool, and surface wave or underwater alarms
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, there are a number of alarm types designed to detect water movement, yet none are foolproof. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission tested these alarms and found those that detect sub-surface movement are most reliable and less likely to set off false alarms than surface detectors.
The CPSC “Pool safely” site provides these additional tips:
- Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa
- Teach children basic water safety tips
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to
- Make sure your pool and the spa has compliant drain covers (ask your pool service provider for more details)
- If a child is missing, look for her or him in the pool or spa first
Prepare for Emergencies
Learn the CPR techniques for children and adults, and update those skills regularly. According to the CDC, “CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.”
It’s also a good idea to have a phone near the pool area and post the address of the home in case someone needs to call 911.