Next to fires and suffocation, drowning is one of the biggest causes of accidents and deaths in children around the home. According to a national swimming pool association, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five in the pool-intensive states of California, Arizona, and Florida. Drowning can happen in a matter of five minutes or less and no one can hear that help is needed.
That is a horrible thought considering people put swimming pools in to have fun and bring the family closer together for hours of backyard entertainment. There are a number of preventative maintenance measures that you can take that will keep your backyard an oasis of fun and family frolic.
Sound the Alarm: Signs, Signals, Bells, and Whistles
Technology has allowed you to install a number of devices that sound the alarm, which is very useful if, for some reason, children have found a way to get into the pool area without your knowledge. There are sensor devices that you can install around the perimeter of the pool that sound an alarm whenever someone gets too close to the edge. Other alarms can be placed on the door leading to the pool area and on the fence.
Area and warning signs are available that list safety rules for your guests and can also show the steps for CPR and how to care for a possible drowning. These types of signs can be purchased through a swimming pool professional.
Keep Your Guard Up
While there are laws in various states about residential swimming pools, a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-locking mechanism is required in most areas. The fencing, which can be chain link, wooden, or metal, should be at least four feet high. Additional locks on the gate are also helpful, especially when you have a child that can figure out how to open a latch.
Apart from this type of protection, nothing is a better safety net than constant adult supervision. Turning your back for an instant can lead to an accident. Do not think about using flotation devices as a substitute for that of an adult being on hand to help a child in the water. Just because a child or even an adult may have taken swim lessons or appears to know what they are doing does not mean that they are ready to be alone in the pool.
The best advice to remember is that the more layers of protection that are put into place, the greater the likelihood that an accident will be prevented. In the case of swimming pools, gates, pool alarms, safety fencing, pool and drain covers, and supervision are the best lines of defense against a drowning. Certain automatic and manual pool covers can be placed over the pool and can withstand the weight of a person on top of it without sinking down into the water, saving that person’s life if they were to fall in.
Other essential items for additional safety include:
- Life ring and hook to pull people to safety.
- Rope and float line to designate where the shallow end and deep end are located.
- Emergency and first aid kit.
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (www.theapsp.org) has a number of recommended web sites that are helpful for providing you with the types of protection you can add, installation hints, estimated costs, and recommended professionals that can help you maintain the safety of your swimming pool and spa. On the top of the list are proper education for the whole family on what is safe and what precautions can be implemented as well as water survival training, swim lessons, and CPR certification.
The Clean Team
There all kinds of dangers lurking in your pool. Most importantly, you want to make sure that all drain covers are maintained. The suction at these drains is a powerful force because it is pulling water out of the pool and toward the pool’s filtration system to clean it. Numerous horrific accidents and deaths have been reported because drain covers have not been maintained, leading to children and adults getting sucked into the drains. This has led to drowning, loss of a limb, and other disfigurement.
Additionally, maintenance geared toward pool safety should include regular weekly cleaning. This means ensuring that the chemical levels in the water are effective to minimize any bacteria or algae from contaminating the quality of your pool. These contaminants can make children sick or lead to skin breakouts and infections. If the pool is not scrubbed, vacuumed, and netted, the water can become murky. This creates an unsafe situation where no one would know if someone fell in. Proper chemical balance will lead to sparkling clear water that feels good and is safe for all who want to jump in on a hot day. The pool filter should also be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain the water clarity.
If you clean your own pool or even if you hire a professional, there will be bottles and buckets of chemicals, such as liquid chlorine, chlorine tablets, soda ash, and muriatic acid, which will need to be stored nearby for maintenance purposes. Make sure that these are locked up and out of reach of children because these chemicals can be deadly.
Tracking Pool Performance
Working with your pool builder and/or swimming pool technician, you can keep copious maintenance records for the swimming pool and spa. Even if you are on your own, conducting your own weekly maintenance, you can still utilize an online home maintenance and inventory portal that provides you a way to keep an up-to-date recording of what has been replaced, including the date, description of work, and notes on when maintenance would need to be conducted again.
Services like those provided by Ownersite Technologies are easy-to-use, cost-effective, and valuable in terms of helping you ensure that your swimming pool and spa stay fun and safe for the entire family. It can also be an effective tool when it comes time to sell the house so that you can show potential buyers how much maintenance has been put into keeping the pool and spa safe and in good working order.