Swimming Safety Tips and Rules Everyone Should Know
Swimming safety should be on your mind when entering any body of water. Swimming is a great activity and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, but it's also important to know how to be safe. Water is very unforgiving. Clean Pool & Spa has offered these important swimming safety tips you should know before swimming in your pool.
What Is Swimming Safety?
Swimming safety is no accident. During the pool season, swimming accidents and accidental drownings occur all too often. Even with the best pool safety rules, there seems to be too many children drowning in swimming pools. For some 300 families per year, Summer the worst time. Additionally, more than 2000 children per year are hospitalized due to submersion injuries.
During my time training lifeguards at the YMCA, a noted misconception is that you can hear a victim drowning or yell for help. In reality, drowning is normally silent. One lifeguard and myself pulled an unconscious 7 year old boy from the shallow end who had been accidently kicked in the head. Many times we cannot identify trouble until it’s too late.
As adults, we must take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of our swimmers.
Learn To Swim
The most obvious reason for learning how to swim is personal safety. It's important to have the ability to survive in water. You might find yourself near water, whether you're walking by a lake, fishing on a boat, or by the pool with your family and friends. If you find yourself in water that's deep, the ability to swim could save your life.
It's advisable to take swimming lessons as early as possible. Younger children can learn how to swim. Take a swimming class at your YMCA or Red Cross. They offer swimming lessons for a very affordable price. However, just because our child may know how to swim doesn't mean we should let our guards down. Drowning can still happen. Always adhere to the buddy system, never swim alone, and always have adult supervision.
This is the easiest and most effective way to prevent accidental drowning. The adults watching the pool should know how to swim so they may help in the time of need. When a child or swimmer is in danger, there's no time to think. As the pool owner, it's your job to remind the adults to be aware of the children that are swimming and around the water. Keep a close eye on any intoxicated adults who may fall into the pool.
Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
As a team member and supervisor at the YMCA and its pool operator, I was required to take a CPR class and to sit through lifeguard training. We were not taught if an accident happened, we were taught what to do when an accident happened. And believe me, my CPR training paid off not once, but twice, during my tenure at the YMCA. The first time is when an elderly man passed out in the hot tub. And 2nd time was when the 7 year old went unconscious in the shallow end of the pool, as was mentioned earlier.
I highly recommend you and your family members take the time to learn CPR from your local YMCA or Red Cross. Online courses are fine and can teach you the proper skills you need to save a life, but there's no substitute for hand-on training.
Have Pool Rules In Place
Pool rules and safety tips are not there to keep you from having a good time. They're there to make sure the time you and your guests spend around a pool is safe and enjoyable. Establish good pool rules from the outset. Children should understand why horseplay could be dangerous, why not to run around on the pool deck, and why only one person at a time should go down the pool slide. I've witnessed too many accidents at the YMCA pool to know all of this is true.
Make sure your family and guests are made aware of your pool rules. They may need reminders from time to time, as play can sometimes get in the way of good judgement.
Pool Safety Equipment Everyone Should Have
Literal knowledge can only take us so far. We need to act on it to make it effective. Let's have the right pool safety equipment to make our pools ever safer.
Pool Safety Fence
A pool fence is a barrier that prevents a child from getting into the pool area. A properly installed pool safety fence will not allow a child to go over, through, or under it. This is an area that I look for during my pool inspections for home buyers.
We build layers of protection and a door alarm is one of those important layers. A door alarm is installed on all doors leading to the pool area, or backyard. When the door is opened, an alarm sounds. This alerts you and gives you time to reach your child before they reach the pool. As you can see from the picture below, I mark this down during my pool inspections.
Pool Safety Cover
Another physical barrier you may want to consider is a pool safety cover. These are installed on the pool during pool closing. They're made of heavy duty material which is very strong and durable and can last for years.
Update Your Pool Drain Covers
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA) is named for a young girl who accidentely died in June 2002 when the suction from a spa drain cover trapped her under the water. Since then, Congress has made it a law that all newly built swimming pools and spas be fitted with an updated anti-vortex or anti-entrapment drain cover.
As you an see from the pictures below, I look at the drain covers as part of my pool inspection. These covers were older models. I put in my report that it's recommended the new owners remove the out-of-date drain covers and install new covers.
You should check with your local codes for up-to-date regulations to ensure your drain covers are in compliance.
Become A Swimming Safety Expert
No, we don't need to be little Napoleons or dictators when it comes to pool rules and safety. Taking little steps here and there and thinking things through can allow you, your family, and pool guests to have a great time with less worry and fear. So let's go swimming and do it safely.