A swimming pool is an attractive addition to a home, but safety is an important consideration. Unfortunately, about ten people die from drowning every day in the United States, and that’s not including boating incidents.
Additionally, the USA Swimming Foundation reports 74% of drowning incidents for children under 15 occur in residential locations. Pools attract children, so safety is even more vital.
Review Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies consider swimming pools an “attractive nuisance.” This is because children tend to use the pool, whether they have permission or not.
Regrettably, the homeowner is financially liable for any injuries that occur on their property and most homeowner’s insurance policies only provide $100,000 in liability coverage. Medical treatments, lawyer’s costs, and a settlement could devour that easily.
Should a child drown, it could also wipe out a homeowner’s assets. Consequently, insurance professionals suggest homeowners increase their coverage to at least $500,000.
Install Pool Fence & Gate
Adding a physical barrier around your pool is your first line of defense against accidental drowning. Your municipality or insurance company may stipulate the size and fence type. If not, it is generally recommended the fence be at least 5 feet to prevent small children from climbing it.
The bars in a fence shouldn’t be any wider than four inches apart. Any spaces in the fence should be less than 1 1/4 inches. Otherwise a child could crawl through or use them to climb over.
Ensure the gate has a childproof self-closing latch beyond the reach of children and don’t place objects near the fence that a child could use to hop the fence.
If you want professional assistance, the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS) can direct you to a child proofer in you area.
Buy a Cover or Safety Net
Homeowners can buy either manual or automatic covers for their pool and shut them whenever the pool isn’t used.
Alternatively, a pool safety net is a less expensive safety solution made from very strong polyethylene netting. It keeps children and animals safe around the pool, even if they fall in as water does not pool on the surface.
Add an Alarm
Consider installing a pool alarm that activates when someone enters the water. It’s an added security measure which emits a very loud warning against unwanted intruders, and it may prevent an accidental drowning.
Install Anti-Entrapment Drain Cover
These are a required by federal law in public areas. However, not all regions require them residentially. Even if this isn’t a requirement in your area, you should install one.
Pool drains create strong suction which can lead to physical injuries or drownings. These covers are affordable and simple to install.
Store Chemicals Safely
Cleaning a pool involves caustic chemicals such as chlorine. Always lock pool chemicals away so children can’t access them.
Handle chemicals carefully. Inadequate protection or improper mixing can lead to skin irritation, illness, fires or explosions, and even death.
Establish Pool Rules
A pool should be a place to have fun, but not when it sacrifices safety. Children need to understand running on a slippery pool deck, pushing, dunking, or diving into shallow water is not allowed. Parents should also ensure kids never play near pool drains or jets either.
Supervise the Pool Area
Parents must always supervise their children in and around the pool. Flotation devices and swimming lessons don’t guarantee a child’s safety, although they’re highly recommended.
At least one adult should know how to recognize the signs of drowning and have first aid and CPR certification. Rescue equipment such as a life ring or life hook should be kept close at-hand as well as fully-stocked first aid kit.