It’s hot and the kids are begging to go in the backyard pool. But you’re busy… there’s laundry to do, the kitchen floor needs washing, and the dog’s whining to go for a walk. It’s tempting to tell the kids to head for the pool and you’ll be there in a few minutes. But don’t do it! Disaster can strike in seconds when water and unsupervised children are together.

Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe around a swimming pool:

  • Install and maintain see-through barriers to the pool.  Keep all entrances locked at a level above a toddler’s grasp.  Keep climbable objects away from the fence.
  • Use gate and pool alarms as well as APPROVED pool covers.  Remove the cover entirely when pool is in use.
  • Consider an immersion alarm that sounds when the water is entered.
  • Inside the fence, NEVER leave children alone or assume someone else in a group is watching your child.  At social gatherings, designate at least one adult as a “water-watcher”.  If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so you don’t have to leave the area to use it. And, it will be close if you need to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Keep all toys away from the pool when not in use so that young children are not attracted by them.
  • Keep basic lifesaving equipment near the pool and be sure you know how to use it.
  • Don’t mix alcohol and swimming and make sure guests do the same.

Make sure your pool has an approved drain cover or add a drain guard yourself. Far too many children have drowned when long hair, an arm or a leg was pulled into the drain by the force of the drain suction. Children are not strong enough to pull themselves away.

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The West Orange First Aid Squad hopes that your summertime is sweet, safe, and memorable. WOFAS answers over 3,200 emergency medical calls per year with no charge to patients. Please visit us at: www.wofas.org