If I asked you if your backyard pool area was safe for children, what would you say?
Most of us know the basics of backyard pool safety, but we often miss hidden dangers in plain sight.
A friend of a friend learned this heartbreaking lesson the absolute worst way several years ago.
She and her husband were setting up a structure in their backyard near the pool and their two sons were playing nearby, chasing each other around the above ground pool. A few minutes later, the older of the two came up alone. They asked where his brother was and he told them he climbed the stairs to the pool. In the short time it took for him to fall in and them to find him, he had drowned.
Sad, but true, the backyard pool is the most common location for drownings for children under five. It can happen so quick and is often completely silent.
These facts are tragic but avoidable with a little due diligence.
In the next 3 weekly blogs, we are going to walk you step by step through a checklist of items that will help you make your backyard pool safer.
How do your backyard enclosures and entryways stack up safety-wise?
- Create a habit of the last one out closes the gate.
- Make sure the gate is securely fastened. One way to do this is to install a self-closing latch. Note: Over time these latches tend to slacken and not close completely – inspect regularly, and change it when it no longer latches.
- Take a walk around the perimeter of your fence every once in a while to make sure there is no way to get through or under it. Sometimes small animals or pets can dig holes under the fence and that might just be enough room for a child to crawl under.
- By law, the minimum height requirement of your fence is 5 feet or 1.5 meters and should totally surround your pool.
- There should be a sign posted at your fence that reads “Children require direct supervision by parent or guardian. Adults should never swim alone.”
Want to dive in deeper to see if your pool safety is up to snuff?
Check out this handy pool inspection checklist from the Lifesaving Society that covers it all.
Happy – and safe – swimming!