NSF International, a public health and safety organization, has put together five simple steps you should take to make your pool safe this summer.
Tip #1 Pay attention to pool drains and covers
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that between 2008 and 2012, 39 people became trapped in pool/spa drains, including 2 children who died.
Don’t let anyone play on or near drains and be sure to:
- Purchase drain covers that meet current Pool & Spa Safety Act requirements.
- Make sure the drain covers are properly installed.
- Make sure everyone using the pool knows where the emergency shut-off switch is located and how to use it.
Tip #2 Install a pool alarm
Most young children who drown in pools are out of sight fewer than five minutes.
In addition to a fence, consider installing a certified pool alarm to keep anyone from entering the pool or spa without your knowledge. Common types of pool alarms include:
- Surface wave sensor (floats on water surface)
- Sub-surface disturbance sensor (mounted to the pool wall below the water surface)
- Wristband (worn on child’s wrist to alert adults if a child should accidentally fall into the water)
Tip #3 Use pool/spa covers safely
Within 1 to 20 seconds, a partially removed pool/spa cover could return to its original position, hiding someone underneath. Be sure to:
- Remove covers completely before using a pool or spa.
- Drain any standing water from the cover surface, especially after rain.
Tip #4 Store and use pool chemicals safely
Mishandling of pool chemicals causes 4,000 emergency visits each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Don’t take chances:
- Replace pool chemicals past their expiration dates.
- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Store chemicals out of reach of children.
Tip #5 Always supervise children using the pool
Small children require constant adult supervision around pools and spas — there is no substitute for the watchful eye of caring adults. Don’t forget to also:
- Establish and enforce rules for pool and spa use.
- Not allow kids to run or play games near the pool
- Keep toys, particularly wheeled toys and tricycles, away from the pool
- Make sure you know if anyone using your pool cannot swim, including adults, but especially children.
No matter how many years you’ve had a pool in your backyard, never, ever take it for granted that everything is safe. And, don’t ever turn your back on a child in or near your pool, not even for what seems like just one second. That’s all it takes.