Having a pool in the backyard can be a great way to cool off during those hot summer months and a source of fun and entertainment. If you have young children, however, the pool in the backyard may also be the source of much stress when your child does not immediately respond to your calls. One way to calm some of your fears and keep your child safe is to make sure your pool is secured and to take some extra precautions yourself.
You likely have a fence around your backyard to keep others away from your pool, but if you have small children you will also want a gate at least 4 feet high around your pool blocking your child's access.
If you have a rectangular pool, you can get an automatic cover that easily retracts each time you are ready to use the pool. A pool cover will also make your job a little easier when you go to swim, as there will be fewer leaves to fish out. Another option is a pool net that covers the top of the pool and can prevent your child from falling into the water.
All of these options are effective only if you remember to lock the gate, tighten the net and put on the cover. To ensure maximum safety, you should also take steps to increase your child's awareness and your ability to respond to a situation.
Related: Keeping your pool clean
Consider swim lessons for your child, especially if you live in an area where many of their friends also have pools. Swimming lessons are designed to teach your child basic water safety like getting to the side of the pool and holding their breath under water.
You will also want to teach your kids to never get in the pool alone. Do not allow them to play with toys in or near the pool unattended.
An alarm is an effective way to alert you when either the gate is opened or when someone falls into the water. Pool surface alarms are available for both in-ground and above-ground pools -- for a very reasonable price, they're a sound investment.
Many children have become trapped by pool drain covers, so the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created a list of covers that are safe for kids. When you are buying a drain cover, check the packaging to make sure it is approved by the CPSC.
If the unthinkable happens, you will want to be prepared, and a CPR class is a great way to do just that. Check with your local Red Cross for a listing of classes in your area.
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