A home swimming pool is a wonderful addition to your property, adding value to the place and giving you and your family an excellent and enjoyable recreational facility to use in the hot weather and as part of your social life with other friends and family. As fun and life-enhancing as installing a pool can be, there are still some very important and practical pool safety considerations that you cannot ignore.
In the past quarter-century, a total of 965 children in Australia have died from accidental drowning. Many of these deaths and other pool-related deaths and injuries could have been prevented if families followed some simple and sensible safety rules.
Start with a Pool Inspection
If you get a pool inspection service in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, or wherever you live, you can, first of all, ensure that your pool and your safety measures are in line with state and federal requirements. There are a growing number of requirements for things like safety fences and other measures designed to prevent deaths, especially child deaths.
Pool inspectors know all the rules inside out and can advise you on how to quickly bring your pool up to code before you get it officially registered (if that’s a necessary step in your local council area).
Talk with Kids Directly About Pool Safety
If your kids’ school has a swimming program, they may already learn about many aspects of pool safety from that, but not every school has that luxury. Australians by and large are good swimmers, but kids need to know to stay away from drains and other openings on the pool that cause suction.
They need to know about how the water is kept clean and why the pool water is different from their drinking water. They need to understand why diving in at the shallow end is dangerous, and the list goes on.
These things and more should be discussed frankly, openly, and directly. It’s best to bring the family together and make it a joint activity. If you feel the kids would benefit from having visual reminders of these rules, then print them up and put them somewhere the kids will always see them.
No Unsupervised Use of the Pool
The safety fence and other tools shouldn’t come down until a mature and responsible member of the family — an adult or perhaps an older sibling — can be there to supervise the entire time the pool is being used.
It’s just in those critical moments when no one is watching when tragedy tends to strike. Besides the splash of the water, there may be no other indication that anything is wrong, or certainly no audible indication that anything is wrong.
Supervision should be a cast-iron rule that nobody breaks.
No Diving without a Deep End
Most public pools have well-defined shallow and deep ends, but home pools are not always the same, or they may be less pronounced. A shallow end of 1m and a “deep” end of 1.3m don’t make for a safe environment for diving or otherwise entering the pool headfirst.
Guidelines state that the minimum safe depth for a head-first entry is 1.5m, but that the optimum depth is 2m. If your pool doesn’t offer that, then be sure to implement a strict no-diving policy.
No Running, Pushing, or Rough-Housing Around the Pool
The pool seems to invite all 3 of these behaviors, especially in kids but adults are far from immune. Parents should lead by example and never do any of these cardinal pool sins.
Running isn’t just dangerous because of falls, but because a pool means there are hard edges all around, and hitting one’s head on these edges is particularly risky. The same goes for pushing and rough-housing.
Although never intentional, someone falling at the wrong angle and hitting their head on the edge of the pool could prove fatal.
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