Backyard pool entertaining is quite popular during the summertime and especially now when people are encouraged to stay home. Families can gather outside around the pool and even invite a small group of friends to join them. At Goodall Pools & Spas, we offer some water safety tips for children to make sure playing in the pool does not turn to tragedy.
Constant Adult Supervision Is the First “Layer of Protection” Against Accidental Drowning
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) has issued its “layers of protection” recommendations for water safety for children. The first layer of protection against accidental drowning in backyard pools or spas is constant adult supervision of children who are in and around the pool. The supervisor must be acutely aware of the following:
- There must always be a designated “water-watcher.” No child should ever be left in a pool without adult supervision. It is not enough to just know there are adults in the backyard. There must be a designated “watcher.” Eyes cannot be taken off of the children for even a second. It only takes a moment for a child to sink below the surface and drown. Children have drowned even when several adults were around the pool, but no one was specifically charged with watching the children.
- Know what drowning looks like. Children who are in trouble in a pool do not shriek and shout and yell. They do not flail their arms. They quietly bob up and down as they try to push themselves to the top so they can grab a breath.
If the watcher needs to leave for a moment, her or she must have another adult take their place. Adult eyes must never leave children playing and swimming in the pool.
Use Pool Barriers and Warning Devices for Water Safety
Another layer of protection for owners of pools, spas, and hot tubs is to be sure their specific water feature is safe from causing accidents that might result from curious children or faulty equipment. Some things to check include:
- Safety barrier around the pool. Check with your state or local government to learn what the specific rules are in your neighborhood about fencing your pool or spa and for latching your gate.
- Safety barrier on top of the pool. An impenetrable cover over the pool completely blocks access to the water. It should always be locked when the pool is not in use.
- Alarming the pool barriers. Alarms can tell you when the gate is opened, when the pool cover is removed, and an alarm in the pool itself can alert you if anyone goes into the pool without your knowledge.