When you have a swimming pool, safety should be your most important consideration. You can add beautiful structures that wow and amaze swimmers—as long as safety features are in place first. Safety Features to Consider:
Never take your eyes off children in the water – not even for a minute. You may think that you will hear splashing and screaming when a child is in trouble, but that is seldom the case. Don’t allow a young child in the pool without adult supervision. Knowing how to swim doesn’t make a child drown-proof. Use personal flotation devises but do not substitute them for supervision.
2. Avoid Entrapments
Don’t play or swim near drains or suction outlets and keep long hair away from suction drains by using braids, bands or swim caps. Never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken or missing drain cover. Know where the electrical shut-off switch for the pool or spa pump is and mark it for quick turnoff. If someone is entrapped against a drain, cut-off the power to the pump immediately. Instead of trying to pull the person away from the powerful suction, pry a hand in between the drain and the person’s body to break the seal. Have a professional regularly inspect your home pool or spa for entrapment hazards. Use a company that has certified professionals like KrisCo Aquatech Pools. Ask your pool professional if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the current VGB Safety Act. According to the recent Virginia Graeme Baker Act, commercial pools must have certified drain covers on all submerged drains. Drain covers are important because they stop powerful drain suction from trapping swimmers underwater. While certified drain covers are a necessity for commercial pools, they are also a good idea for family pools—particularly if you have small children. Drain covers are crucial to protecting your children from tragic accidents. A pool and spa company like KrisCo Aquatech Pools & Spas can help bring your drains to compliance.
3. Know Life-Saving Skills
Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim. Know CPR so you can help save a life if a water emergency occurs. Understand the basics of life-saving so you can assist in an emergency. Keep rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Call 911 in an emergency.
4. Pool Covers
Pool covers keep dirt and debris out of your water and increase the life of your pool’s surface and components. But most importantly, covers protect your children from falling into the pool. With a well-built pool cover in place, you can prevent drowning accidents. Make sure the cover you choose is strong enough to hold the weight of several adults without falling in. It should also have a key or lock so your children cannot remove it. If your current pool cover needs replacement, purchasing a better one is well worth the investment.
A barrier such as a fence is another important way to keep children away from your pool when it’s not open. The International Code Council recommends that your fence have the following features:
- A height of at least 5’, preferably 6’
- A less than four-inch space between pickets
- A self-closing and self-latching gate
- A bottom horizontal rail that’s less than two inches from the ground
- A middle horizontal rail that’s 45 inches above the bottom horizontal rail
- A gate that opens outward
If the fence’s latch is on the inside of the gate, it should be three inches below the top. If the latch is on the outside of the gate, it should be at least 54 inches high.
Even with a pool cover and fence in place, it’s still possible for children to sneak into the pool area when adults aren’t around. To prevent this scenario, protect your pool with an alarm. Some alarms sound when someone opens the gate. Others sound when someone opens the pool cover. Still others can detect changes in the water’s surface, thereby knowing exactly when someone enters the water. Using more than one type of alarm adds an extra degree of protection.
Pool lighting can make swimming at night fun and safe. Swimmers need to see where they’re going in order to avoid accidents and injuries. Choose LED lights or 12-volt lights. Higher voltages can lead to safety issues. Plus, make sure your light fixtures are encased in strong materials that tolerate outdoor conditions. Stainless steel or copper are both good choices. All lighting and cabling should be durable and water safe. Your lighting and cabling should come equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs protect against electrical shock if any of the components get wet.
8. Pool-Rules Sign
Whether you have a commercial pool or a family pool, setting pool rules can keep all swimmers safe. Order a permanent, waterproof sign or create your own with rules including:
- No running or horseplay
- Kids only go in the pool with adult supervision
- No diving in the shallow end
- No swimming alone
- In an emergency call 911
- No swimming if you have diarrhea or open wounds
- Young children must wear swim diapers
Setting rules can protect your family and any guests. Make sure you display your sign where all can see.
9. Renovation and Cleaning
Renovation and cleaning can address any aspect of your pool that may be unsafe. For example, cracks in your pool’s deck can cause slip-and-fall accidents. Pool experts can repair or replace the deck to prevent people from tripping. Also, a dirty pool harbors microorganisms that can make people sick. Make sure to get your pool water tested and cleaned regularly to keep swimmers healthy and safe. You should test the chlorine and pH levels at least twice a week and preferably daily. Test the alkalinity a minimum of twice a week. Test for calcium harness and total dissolved solids a minimum of twice a month, and test for the presence of metals on a monthly basis. Or you can bring a water sample in to our store and we can test it for you and provide assistance/instruction with your water chemistry needs. Make sure your pool is a safe haven where your family and friends can gather without worry. If you’re ready to add new safety features, or if your pool requires renovation or cleaning, count on KrisCo Aquatech Pools & Spas. We offer all the products and services you need for the care of your pool.