Pools make some backyards the places to be in late spring and throughout summer. Lazy summer afternoons are a lot more enjoyable when they’re spent in or alongside a pool, and kids tend to say “I’m bored” with considerably less frequency when a pool is within arm’s reach.
Pools are certainly fun, but they’re only as fun as they are safe. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2018, at least 148 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas. While those figures represented a 9% decline from the year prior, 148 deaths is still 148 lives lost too early.
Pool safety need not come at the expense of summer fun. In fact, homeowners can employ various preventive measures to reduce the risk of pool-related accidents on their properties.
• Inspect gates around your pool. The International Code Council, a member-focused association dedicated to the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures, advises homeowners to inspect all pedestrian gates in the barrier fences around their pools. Such gates should be self-closing and self-latching, as both features ensure gates are always closed. In addition, the ICC recommends padlocking other gates around the property.
• Remove objects around pedestrian gates. Kids can climb up on chairs, tables, large toys and other objects left around pool gates to gain access to pools even when their parents aren’t looking or even home. Such items should be removed.
• Install a pool alarm. Pool alarms can alert homeowners to accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. The ICC recommends installing such alarms while noting that they should not be considered a substitute for barrier fences or safety covers.
• Install automatic or manually operated pool covers. Pool covers can effectively prevent access to pools, spas or hot tubs. At the end of each pool session, cover the pool, even during the height of summer when pools are used daily. The minor task of covering the pool is worth the considerably lower risk of accident or injury if pools remain uncovered.
Summer afternoons at the pool can be made much safer by adhering to a few safety tips.