There’s been a spike in demand for backyard pools since the pandemic as families have stayed close to home for summer fun. Unfortunately, this surge in backyard pool sales has also meant an increase in accidents and potential safety issues.
As the weather warms up, here are some water safety tips to keep in mind for your backyard pool.
Safety measures: In addition to state and Town-required safety measures for in-ground and above-ground swimming pools, you should implement additional safety measures to keep your backyard pool safe.
You can control access to your pool by:
• Installing and maintaining barriers that surround all sides of the pool, such as fencing.
• Using a self-closing and self-latching gate. Ensure the latch is high enough that a young child can’t reach it.
• Using locks and alarms to alert you when someone enters the backyard pool area.
• Removing above-ground pool ladders when they aren’t being used.
You can also remove all toys and floats from the pool when they aren’t being used. These objects can lure a child into the water.
Pool rules: It’s important to review pool rules with your family periodically and ensure you’re practicing backyard pool safety regularly. Here are some rules that are important:
• Never swim alone, even if you’re an adult. More than one person should always be present in case of an emergency.
• Adults should be actively watching anytime a child is using or playing near the backyard pool. During backyard get-togethers, designate an adult to be the pool monitor and rotate responsibilities frequently.
• Teach your children to stay away from danger zones, such as pool drains and other openings in the pool. Clothing and hair can get stuck in these openings and trap swimmers. Make sure everyone knows how to quickly shut off filters when necessary.
Every backyard pool owner should also create a pool emergency kit that is within easy reach during an emergency. Include a standard first aid kit and a floatation device to throw to struggling swimmers.
Learn to swim, take CPR class: One of the best ways to prevent backyard pool accidents is to enroll children in swim lesson classes. They’ll learn how to swim, but they’ll also learn to respect the water and to recognize water safety concerns on their own.
Because of the bounty of water in our Lowcountry, this is a concern that extends beyond your own backyard.
You can also take a CPR, AED and First Aid class as a family. You’ll learn important lifesaving skills for a variety of emergencies. Classes are available in person, remotely and in a hybrid format.
Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue.