Ruled for Backyard Pools
Rules for Backyard Pools
If you’re fortunate enough to have a backyard pool it can provide hours of fun for the whole family. But all that great fun can come to a sudden halt if there’s a drowning accident. And, when most people are staying close to home due to stay at home orders to stem the spread of COVID-19, a backyard pool may be an especially welcomed opportunity for active entertainment, putting a few rules in place you can protect your family. If we’re lucky enough to get a handle of the virus and are able to welcome visitors, make sure they know and follow the rules too.
Start with making sure any kids who are using your pool learn the following five basic water survival skills. All kids should be able to:
- Step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface
- Float or tread water for one minute;
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit;
- Swim 25 yards to exit the water; and
- Exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder
No kids allowed in the pool without adult supervision.
Even if kids can swim, accidents can happen.
Walk, don’t run.
Wet feet can easily slip when running.
Don’t dive into shallow water.
Enter the water feet first. Dive only off the diving board.
No rowdy play in the pool.
No rough games involving dunking, holding your breath for any extended period, or lifting and throwing others into the air.
No glass containers.
Beverage glasses can easily break on the pool deck or pool walls. Instead use outdoor-friendly options like acrylic tumblers or paper, plastic, or foam cups, or drink from a can.
No alcohol or medications.
Alcohol and some medications can impair your ability to swim and affect other motor skills, as well as breathing and orientation.
Don’t Leave Without Saying Good-Bye
Always tell an adult if you’re leaving so they’ll always know who is still in the pool.
As the host, it’s up to you to do things that can ensure the safety of everyone. Not only should you enforce the rules, but you should also adhere to some of your own.
Insist on adult supervision at all times.
First and foremost, children should always be supervised by an adult. Vigilance is the single most important factor in preventing drowning. Adults should practice arm-length direct “touch supervision” for infants and toddlers even if they can swim. While there are many ways to make your swimming pool safe, there is no substitute for supervision!
Put your phone and other distractions away.
Children can silently slip beneath the surface and drown in seconds—the time it takes to post on Instagram. You don’t need to leave your phone at home—in fact, you should keep it fully charged and within reach so you can call for help in case of an emergency. However, silence it and stow it in your bag. Then push your friends to do the same. And if you absolutely, positively must send an urgent email or make a call, find a responsible adult to stand in while you step away.
Know CPR and have an emergency plan in place.
Knowing even basic CPR and acting immediately—instead of waiting for emergency responders—can make the difference between life and death in drowning cases or anytime a person’s heart stops. Many organizations such as the American Red Cross, fire departments and hospitals offer CPR certification courses. Consider hanging an all-weather sign with CPR instructions to hang on the inside of your pool gate and be sure to print your home’s address on it in permanent marker in case anyone needs to call an ambulance. Even if a child doesn’t need CPR after being submerged, having water in his or her lungs can still lead to serious trouble.
Have rescue equipment and a first aid kit nearby.
Make sure you have life-saving tools (life ring, rescue tube or life hook), a first aid kit and a phone nearby. Store the rescue equipment near the pool in a clearly marked and accessible area, and periodically check to make sure it’s in good condition.
Install a fence.
Install a fence that separates the pool area from the house and yard and self-closing and self-latching gates. There isn’t a federal pool-fence law, but several cities and states have enacted their own laws that spell out fence requirements, such as minimum fence height and other specifications. Some experts say the taller the better to ensure that children can’t use things to climb fences.
Use an alarm on the house door that leads to the pool area, a floating pool alarm or a below-water alarm. Keep in mind that an alarm isn’t a substitute for appropriate fencing and supervision.
Remove toys from the pool.
Don’t leave pool toys in the water. Curious children can easily fall into the water while trying to retrieve a toy.
By establishing rules and taking precautions, you can keep everyone safe and ensure they enjoy their time at the pool. Your donation can help teach children water safety to stop drowning death and injury.