For any parent, a backyard pool can be a real lifesaver, giving the kids a cool and close-by place to hang out all summer long.
However, pools are also potentially dangerous if not properly supervised.
Help keep your kids swimming with these swimming pool safety tips.
1. keep an eye out
It sounds obvious, but never leave your kids unsupervised by the pool. The best way to do this is to recruit help from a fellow adult so you can both takes turns. But if you are all alone, pre-stock your area with food, drink and a phone for emergencies, so you won’t have to walk away even for a second.
2. keep it tidy
Don’t leave any pool toys lying around the pool deck waiting to trip unsuspecting guests; and the same goes for furnishings, you don’t want anyone leaning back in their chair to go tumbling into the pool either. Furthermore, pool furnishings should be kept clear of the pool fencing so young children can’t accidently climb in or out of the pool area.
3. take the test
Get certified, or go online to brush up on your CPR skills if it’s been a few years since your last course. Some of the recommendations have changed—for example, did you know that doctors now recommend only using chest compressions and not manually breathing into the victim’s mouth? Also, test out your pool safety equipment such as flotation devices to make sure they are not cracked or otherwise broken.
4. walk don’t run
This may be a hard sell for any kid, but it really is important to not run or horse around on the wet and slippery pool deck. And make sure your kids only jump off the diving board, and use pool depth markers to make sure the water is deep enough for diving. According to the American Red Cross, never dive head first into a pool that’s less than 9 feet deep.
5. skin safety
Don’t forget, your child’s skin also needs to be protected at the pool. Apply a waterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 a half-hour before they go outside, and then reapply it every two hours. It’s also a good idea to have your child wear a brimmed hat even while swimming, and to keep them out of the pool, or at least in the shade, during the hottest part of the day.
Don’t be stingy with the sunscreen. A think layer is much better than partial protection.