A backyard swimming pool is one of the most useful home recreational features, but also one that poses a huge risk to the family and pets.
Securing the pool especially in a home with kids should be a priority.
Installing safety features and drilling the family on swimming pool safety will ensure that the pool remains a source of joy.
There are several ways of securing a backyard pool involving installing physical barriers, teaching safety to family and friends and being generally careful about who goes to the pool.
There is also the legal aspect of things. This is because even if the pool is private property, it can expose the homeowner to legal liabilities.
Install swimming pool barrier
These are features that restrict access to the pool. They include fences, gates, pool covers, and alarms.
These barriers prevent people especially children from going over, under or through them.
Some of the ways to ensure that swimming pool barriers are effective include:
- Having a fence that is at least 4 feet high to make it difficult to climb over. Ensure that the fence has no handholds and other features that children can use to vault over the fence. A glass fence is ideal as it is smooth which prevents climbing over. It preserves the beauty of the pool. Also, consider a fence that has powder coating to make it slippery.
- Have the fence go around the full perimeter of the pool instead of using the house as a barrier on one side
- Install self-closing and self-latching pool gates. They should be kept in working order at all times.
- Install door alarms on the door leading to the backyard and the pool. Ensure the sound alarms are different from other alarms in the house.
- Doors to the backyard should be self-latching and self-closing. The locks should be high to prevent children from reaching up to them.
- Install a pool safety cover and keep it closed when there is no supervisor around the pool.
Keep the cover opening mechanism locked away from the children. A pool cover keeps pets and people falling into the water accidentally.
Mesh covers are good for holding a lot of weight without breaking, they can hold heavy adults.
An automatic cover is easier to operate as you can open and close the pool covers at the touch of a button.
- Install an underwater alarm that alerts when anyone gets into the pool.
- Install covers on the drain. These anti-entrapment covers prevent children getting sucked by the outflowing water.
Swimming pool safety rules
It is important that the family and guests learn and understand basic swimming pool safety rules:
- Always swim with someone nearby
- Everyone to swim with a buddy nearby, even adults
- Do safe diving. This is diving from the diving board and not the sides.
- Use the pool slide correctly, which is going down feet first
- Use the bathroom before getting into the pool
- Teach basic first aid to family members
- Don’t allow intoxicated people into the pool
- Don’t dive in shallow water from the sides of the pool
- Don’t run and play around the pool’s deck as a fall could lead to serious injuries
- Don’t engage in rowdy horseplay and pushing to avoid people getting into the pool unawares
- Don’t use glasses and glass jars around the pool to avoid broken glass in the water
Learn to swim
Everyone in the family should learn to swim well. At least have everyone take refresher swimming lessons every year.
Those who cannot swim and those without experience should wear approved life jackets.
Avoid encouraging the use of floaters in the pool…
…this keeps children away from the pool taking unnecessary risks with the belief in floaters.
There should be close supervision of children in the swimming pool. There should be an adult supervisor at any time there are children swimming.
Ensure that everyone getting into the pool informs on their swimming ability. Are they non-swimmers, inexperienced or expert swimmers?
Even adults who cannot swim are at great risk when they swim without supervision.
If you are organizing a pool party, ensure that there is a schedule for continual supervision during the party. It is advisable to share the swimming pool safety rules beforehand through email or social media.
Be ready for emergencies
- Families, friends, neighbors, and babysitters should be aware of swimming pool safety rules and instructions.
- Have rescue equipment by the pool side, easily accessible and always in good condition. This equipment includes reaching poles, life rings, and floats.
- Teach water safety, first aid and CPR courses to family members
- Keep a phone nearby and easily accessible to call for help in case of emergencies.
Know your legal liabilities
A swimming pool can expose you to legal liabilities in case it poses a risk to the general public. You can be sued if someone drowns in your swimming pool.
- Ensure that the pool is not easily accessible to trespassers. Young children and teenagers are prone to truancy and will play in the pool without your knowledge. Always keep the fence and gate closed, and the cover on.
- Post swimming pool safety rules on the entrance to the swimming pool for everyone to see.
- Make sure that emergency equipment is accessible and easily visible for all pool users.
- Remove the diving board to discourage unsupervised diving.