May is National Water Safety Month, and in honor of that we are sharing tips for Backyard Pool Safety. If you or a family member has a pool in their backyard, there are a plethora of safety concerns. However, they are all manageable and will create an environment you will be able to relax in if you know safety measures are in place.
- Backyard pools need to have a permanent 4-sided pool fence around them that includes a self locking/latching gate. Most homeowners insurance policies will even require this if you have a pool installed in your backyard. Periodically, you need to perform a 'shake test' of your fence to ensure it is still solid and in good working condition.
- Do not allow kids to climb on the fence and make sure to remove patio furniture that can be used as a step stool to get over the fence.
- If your house serves as the fourth side of the fence, install door alarms and use them at all times. For an extra layer of protection, install window guards on any windows facing the backyard pool.
- Consider using surface wave or underwater alarms in your pool to alert you when there is movement in your pool water.
- Keep the pool water level at the uppermost point and aim jets to the shallow end of the pool.
- Waterfalls in the pool area can create a noise level that could compete with a cry for help - keep this in mind before turning on water features if small children will be using your pool.
- Keep a phone with you at all times in case of an emergency, and make sure your address is posted somewhere outside if you have friends over or are hosting a pool party and guests are not familiar with your location.
- Drain entrapments are a serious danger in pools. Make sure kids are not playing or diving down to pool drains, and ensure your pool drain is VGB compliant. Make sure to periodically inspect your drain cover to ensure it is in place and secured tightly, and ensure it is not cracked or broken. Replace cracked / broken drain covers immediately once discovered.
- Keep your pool deck clean and clear of toys and floats so you have quick access to all sides. Remind your kids that pool tools to clean and maintain the pool are not pool toys!
- Supervision is key! Have a designated parent watch the water for specified periods of time, and during that time, do not allow for any distractions. Visiting friends and family and holiday parties/celebrations often cause disruptions in normal routines, so be extra vigilant during these times.
Have a safe and fun summer full of backyard swimming and pool parties - just remember your basic backyard pool safety!