Having a swimming pool at home is a luxury like no other. Cooling off in the water on a hot summer’s day (or night) can be an enjoyable experience for everyone in the family, not to mention friends, neighbors, and other guests.
While swimming can provide endless hours of fun, there are risks to keep in mind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 11 people die each day, around 3,960 annually, as a result of drowning. Children ages five and under make up 80% of emergency room-treated injuries due to pool-related accidents. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 70% of children who drown weren’t expected to be in or near water.
If you plan on taking a dip this summer, stay safe by following these swimming pool rules.
Home pool safety guidelines
Never leave children or people with disabilities unsupervised
Young children and people with disabilities should never be left unattended in or around the water.
- Task a responsible, attentive adult with supervising swimmers during pool time.
- Have a charged phone nearby in case you need to call 911 for help.
- Even if a trained lifeguard is present, parents, guardians, and caregivers should still be responsible for keeping a close eye on vulnerable swimmers.
- Children should be taught to immediately notify an adult if someone is struggling in the water.
- When a pool is not in use, it should be properly covered.
Avoid consuming drugs and alcohol around or in a swimming pool. People are more prone to accidents, slips, pass out, or drown while they are under the influence.
No roughhousing, running, or diving in the shallow end
- Drownings and other consequential accidents often occur during rough play in the pool. Never jump on another swimmer or hold someone underwater.
- Always walk near a pool, don’t run. Slipping on wet surfaces can result in severe injury.
- Only dive if you’ve been thoroughly trained and are certain the pool is deep enough. Never dive into an above-ground pool.
Install barriers and anti-entrapment drain covers
Even when properly equipped, pool drains and covers can be dangerous and the ultra-powerful suction from a pool or spa drain can trap even the most capable swimmers. Teach your family and guests to never play near the drains or suctions. If you’re a pool owner, inspect your drains and drain covers regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.
Even if it’s a cloudy day, it’s always a smart idea to wear a generous layer of sunscreen — and reapply it frequently. Heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other sun-related illnesses pose serious threats to swimmers of any age and skill level.
Stay inside during storms
If it begins to storm, exit the pool immediately, take shelter indoors, and stay out of the water for 30 – 45 minutes after lighting, thunder, and rain have completely passed. Water conducts electricity, resulting in a more likely place for lightning to strike than land. Remember: there will always be other times to enjoy a safe swim without stormy weather!
Learning CPR can help save a life. If you’re a pool owner, it’s strongly encouraged to be CPR certified in the event of an emergency. CPR classes are available at many hospitals, community centers, and your local American Red Cross.
It’s important to establish clear rules and enforce safe behaviors in and around any swimming pool. If you’re wondering how a pool affects your homeowners’ insurance, reach out to a Rural Mutual agent to make sure you have proper liability limits to protect you from risks associated with a pool. At Rural Mutual, it is our top priority to keep our clients and community members safe.