A swimming pool can provide hours of entertainment for the kids. On a hot day, there’s nothing better than taking a dip to keep cool and watch them play in the water. However, the backyard swimming pool can be a safety hazard, with the risk of drowning greater in children under the age of 14. To ensure the safety of your children when they’re around swimming pools, be sure to take the following precautions.
Teach children how to swim and play safely
Teaching children how to swim and play safely in and around water is vital. There
are many swimming schools and local pools offering swimming lessons for all ages. In some areas, you may also be able to organise a swimming teacher to come to your home and provide private lessons in your own pool. Teaching kids to swim from a young age will equip them with important survival skills, as well as provide them with the confidence to navigate open water and increase their water
awareness. Sadly, drowning is one of the greatest causes of accidental death in children
under five in Australia. On average, one child per week will die from drowning across the country, so learning to swim is the first line of defence for a child’s safety in even shallow water.
Supervise your children at all times
Always watch your children when they’re in or near a pool - and stay within arm’s reach of children aged below five. Less than two minutes is all it can take for a child to drown without supervision. Even if your kids and their friends are avid swimmers, you should always keep watch. Should something happen, such as a child tiring in the water and becoming unable to make it out of the pool, you need to be there within seconds to be able to rescue or assist them.
During parties and gatherings, designate at least one adult to actively supervise your swimming pool, alternating supervision throughout the day. That supervision is the key to child safety around swimming pools. Being at hand and at reach at all time could save a child’s life.
Check that a lifeguard is on duty
Pool safety isn’t just confined to the backyard swimming pool. If you’re visiting a public pool or a beach, make sure that a lifeguard is on duty. However, even in pools with lifeguards on duty, parents need to supervise their young. The supervision of children in aquatic facilities is not the sole responsibility of the lifeguards, so parents are encouraged to supervise their own children, even when a lifeguard is present.
Provide safety equipment
Adequately equipping your swimming pool with easy-to-climb pool ladders will provide an extra source of safety for children. You’ll want to purchase and install the correct ladder for your pool type, one that is sturdy and provides easy entry and exit. Ideally, your pool would have some form of access at either end.
Fence your pool
The best measure you can take to ensure child safety around the pool is to install a pool fence. If you are installing a pool or already have one built in your backyard, it’s essential that you follow Australia’s strict pool fencing laws and regulations. While there are some differences in requirements between states and territories, there are also universal pool fencing regulations that apply to all Australian swimming pools. These include:
- A pool that is fully fenced-off and enclosed.
- A pool fence height of at least 1200mm from ground level.
- Pool fencing made of durable material including steel, timber, and glass.
- Pool gates that open and swing outwards away from the pool, also being fitted with a self-closing latch.
- Furniture items, BBQs, or anything that can be climbed must be kept at least 900mm away from the pool fence.
- Pool fences must be regularly maintained and show no signs of holes, wear, gaps, or cracks.
For more specific information on pool fencing regulations in your state, be sure to check with your local council or click here for a list of all state-specific pool fencing regulations.
Inspect the pool area for hazards
Because pools are wet areas, it’s easy for children to slip on wet surfaces or trip over pool objects. Make sure that you inspect the pool area daily before and after use for any safety hazards. Also, store pool equipment and toys away after use, and keep pool chemicals locked up in a safe area that kids can’t reach.
Keep a first aid kit nearby
All households should have a first aid kit within easy access of the swimming pool. Equip your pool area with a life ring, rescue tube, or a life hook nearby as an emergency rescue device. Your first aid kit should be fitted with all the essentials and be stored in an obvious place. A good idea is to store all your safety equipment near your CPR and pool safety warning sign so that it can be easily located by both children and adults.
To know what to do in an emergency, you should learn how to perform CPR. Learning resuscitation and first aid techniques can save a child’s life. There are a number of first aid courses available, with organisations such as St John Ambulance Australia and Life International Training providing great first aid and CPR lessons. In some states, you must have an up-to-date Swim Safe CPR chart prominently displayed. These signs give a step-by-step example of what to do in an emergency and how to give first aid CPR.
Establish pool rules
Educate your children about what type of behaviour is acceptable in and around the pool. You may even want to create your own list or sign that you can display in the pool area for them to follow. Pool rules can include:
- No running
- Don’t dive in shallow water
- No pushing or ‘dunking’
- No swimming without an adult present
- No ball games around the pool
Install safety barriers
Adding extra safety features such as a pool alarm system could make the difference in saving your child’s life. Pool alarms can alert you when the gates to the pool are opened; eliminating the risk of unsupervised swimming. Other measures you can take to ensure your child’s safety might be installing a pool cover to cover the swimming pool when it’s not in use.
Guarantee your child’s safety around the pool
To guarantee increased safety for your children around your backyard pool, you need to install a fence. For help and advice installing a glass pool fence, contact Trade Glass Depot and receive a free quote today!