Summer time means more pool time. It also is a time to review pool safety measures.
Here are some guidelines from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on what you need to look for in your backyard pool, or any hotel, resort, cruise ship or community pool to make sure you and your kids stay safe in the water.
1. Fences. To prevent small children from getting unsupervised access to a pool, it should be completely surrounded by self-closing, self-latching gates. If you’re at a party at a friend’s home and the home itself forms a barrier to the pool, there should be alarms that make an audible sound when the backdoor opens.
2. Emergency Equipment. Pools should always have emergency rescue equipment nearby. Equipment can include a life ring, first aid kit, automated external defibrillator and oxygen. There should also be phone and emergency numbers posted poolside.
3. Drain Covers. Uncovered drains can be hazardous, and pose a risk of entanglement or entrapment, the commission warns. Pools with a safety vacuum release system, which automatically shuts off a pump when a blockage is detected, can make a pool even safer.
4. Pool Covers. To prevent children and pets from falling into the pool when unsupervised, pools should be covered when they’re not in use. Toys should also be removed from the pool since small children may try to reach them while unattended.
5. Healthy Pool Habits. Gastrointestinal illnesses in public pools and water parks have risen drastically in the last few years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so make sure you and your children aren’t swallowing water. Some parasites can live for days even in chlorinated water, according to one New York Times report. And most pool-related illnesses are caused by parasites and bacteria found in feces.
6. Supervision. Drowning can occur silently, and in just minutes. And 77% of submersion victims are only missing from sight for five minutes or less, according to commission research. Parents should supervise their children or there should be a lifeguard on duty. Either way, the person supervising should know CPR. Also, very young children should not be allowed in a pool without an adult, and just because your child is using a floatation device or has taken swimming lessons, doesn’t mean they’re completely safe when no one’s watching.
Escaping work to soak up the sun poolside doesn’t mean you can forget all your worries. Be sure to scope out your surroundings for these important safety measures, especially if you’re vacationing with kids in tow.
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