Drowning is a major cause of death for children under 5. You can quickly put together a pool safety system that will keep your family and pets safe.
1. Build a fence around the pool:
http://www.floridahealth.gov has precise height measurements for home pool safety barrier guidelines.
The fence should have a child safety gate, that can only be opened by older children and adults. If in doubt, build your fence at least 5 feet in height and ensure it allows no access without using the gate.
2. Maintain the fence and gate:
Once you have these in place, ensure that there are no deficiencies and that the fence and gate are working as they should be. Make regular checks (at least monthly) to ensure all is well. Remove items leaning against the fence. Young children and pets may be tempted to use anything that looks like stairs or a climbing aid, so never leave anything leaning against the fence.
3. Keep the gate shut:
At all times, no matter what and no matter who is in the vicinity of the pool, keep the gate shut. Older children cannot be expected to remain aware of a toddler wandering into the pool area while they are playing around, shouting and having fun. They are too distracted, so ensure that the gate is closed. A self-closing and self-latching gate is your best option.
4. Make your poolside non-slip:
Although there should be a no-running rule, accidents do happen and it is better to try to guard against slipping by using a good non-slip surface.
5. Provide life jackets:
Any child under 5 should wear a life jacket in the pool and any child unable to swim should also be in one unless under supervision of a capable person giving swimming lessons.
6. Keep your pool area tidy:
A poolside littered with toys, floats, noodles and other objects can be alluring to a small child. Always put these away to avoid encouraging their use when nobody is watching.
7. Keep lifesaving equipment handy:
Keep a first aid kit, rescue buoys, a long pole etc. in a handy location (not accessible by small children) that can be used in a hurry if needed. It is also crucial to know how to resuscitate, so attend first aid courses and keep your knowledge up-to-date.
8. Keep pool chemicals locked away:
Children and pets might be attracted to pool chemicals, which are highly poisonous if swallowed. They should be locked away at all times and kept out of the reach of children.
9. Keep an eye on them:
Don't ever leave the pool area unsupervised when it is accessible. If you must leave, secure the area or bring the children/pets in the home with you. If a child or pet is suddenly out of sight, always check the pool first. Drowning can occur in minutes, without any splashing or noise whatsoever. If they are drowning, every second counts, so check the pool first.
10. Make rules:
Make a set of behavior rules for the pool and ensure that the whole family is aware of them. For example:
No running, no throwing objects
Never prop open the pool gate; always leave it shut
Never let children swim without adequate supervision from a responsible, mature person
Always remove objects from the poolside or near the fence when not swimming