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9 Ways to Make Your Pool Safer for Kids

Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, Board Certified Pediatrician
January 3, 2019 . 15 min read

1. Make your home pool a safer place

With the summer sun comes swimsuits and watery fun, but parents should be on high alert, especially if their homes have pools. Drowning ranks as the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19, even for those who have learned to swim or had swim lessons, so relying parent supervision is no longer enough to prevent drowning. Consider taking these steps to prevent your family from enduring a tragedy this summer.

2. Secure doors that access the pool area

Start by incorporating safeguards into the design of your home and pool. Installing additional safety locks that your child cannot open on all doors with access to the pool area is a great first step.

3. Install a fence around your pool

Should your child make it outside without your knowledge, a pool fence, at least 4 feet high, installed on all four sides of your pool, could be a lifesaver. A pool fence at this height will serve as an extra layer of protection for those moments when you lose track of your children.

4. Select a safe gate

When selecting a safety fence, be careful to choose one with a gate that opens away from the pool and latches automatically at a height above where your child can reach. You should also check your city and state regulations through your local zoning department to see if there are ordinances regulating the height at which you must install gate latches.

5. Install door or gate alarms

Inevitably, you won’t always be in the same room as your child. An alarm on your exterior doors or your pool’s safety gate would allow you to hear if your child exits your home or enters the pool area, even when you aren’t looking.

6. Keep lawn furniture away from the pool fence

Avoid unknowingly giving your children the tools they need to circumvent your preventative measures. Be sure to keep lawn furniture and other moveable structures, such as large toys, a decent distance from your pool fence to deter children from climbing over into the pool area.

7. Use surface or underwater alarms

As a final line of built-in defense, consider incorporating floating alarms, which detect waves on your pool’s surface, or underwater alarms, which detect waves beneath the surface, into your safeguard system. Every second will count if your child falls into the pool, making it crucial that you know the moment they enter the water.

8. Cover all pool and spa drains

Even with other precautions, there are still risk factors to consider when your children are swimming under your supervision. Cover all pool and spa drains with anti-entrapment covers at all times to eliminate the risk that a child’s hair or swimsuit could trap him or her at the bottom of the pool.

9. Keep rescue equipment close by

You should also install rescue equipment, such as a shepherd’s hook or life preserver, somewhere visible near the pool, just in case an emergency happens, despite your best efforts to prevent it. These items may be the difference between life and death.

10. Put colorful, tempting toys away

On days when swimming is just uneventful, family fun, you can reduce the risk that your child will wander back to the pool unsupervised by clearing colorful objects and pool toys from the water when playtime is over. Be sure to secure the toys so that a gust of wind doesn’t carry the temptation back into the water.

Sources:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Gives Updated Advice on Drowning Prevention.
    Pediatrics. Prevention of Drowning.

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