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Water Safety: Swimming Pool Hazards and Children

By Carl Pensington

Before you open your swimming pool for the season, or if

you are thinking of having a pool installed, you should

review the basic safety procedures. Even if you have had

that pool for a number of years, your family should review

the procedures to make sure that children don't become

victims of a water tragedy. Especially where children are

concerned, it only takes a moment for something to go wrong

and for tragedy to strike. Often this will happen when

those who are designated to supervise the children at the

pool become lax in their duties. People who get too used to

pools will often forget about the dangers involved.

Each year, many children lose their lives because they are

left alone near a swimming pool. Even children older than

toddlers should not be left alone. Resist your first

impluse to respond to the summons if your phone rings or

someone knocks at the door. Nothing is more important

than the safety of your children. If you leave them alone,

even if only for a moment, at the side of the pool to

attend to some other matter, you are endangering their

lives. There should be no choide at all about which

is the more important to attend to.

If receiving phone calls is important to you during the

time that you're by the pool with the kids, then have a

phone installed near the pool or bring a portable phone

along. In the case of someone coming to the door or calling

you from some other point around your home, such as over

the hedge, from the driveway or around the front of the

house, all you have to do is call for them to join you by

the pool. There's no need to leave the pool unless there's

an emergency, and, even then, the children should be

taken out of the pool and either brought along as you step

away, or left with another adult.

A swimming pool should always be separated from the house

by a fence, and some towns are now even making that a law.

The fence needs to be at least 4 feet in height and must

enclose the entire pool area. Too many tragedies have

occurred when toddlers wander away from the house and

fall into the pool. To prevent this, the gate to the pool

must be self-closing and the self-latching system must be

beyond the reach of young children. You should also have

proper rescue equipment, such as a life preserver and a

hooked tool that will aid in retrieval.

Do not allow children to use toys as life preservers. When

they are in the pool, they should wear approved life vests

rather than pool toys or safety gear. These are made of

thin plastic that can puncture easily and put the child's

life in jeopardy. Even if you are watching, they could

drown before emergency help can arrive. Distance can

be very important, and the general rule is to always stay

within an arm's length of children in or near the pool.

Another wise rule to follow is never to leave toys in the

pool once the children have left. Too often, they are

tempted to retrieve them and will end up falling into the

water when you are no longer watching.

Unless they are able to perform CPR, you should not give

anyone the responsiblity of supervising your children in a

pool. Classes are given at schools and community

organizations before the beginning of the swimming season,

and anyone who is interested can find a class. Take one of

these classes yourself and have everyone who will watch

your children do the same. Put your safety procedures in

place, and you can relax and enjoy a safe, fun summer.

About The Author

Carl Pensington operates the website Flx Pool which a site dedicated to researching Pool related topics and contains all the very latest Pool news and views. Please visit if you have any questions or comments concerning this article.

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