The dog days of summer are dragging on, but for pool owners, that can be great news. It’s during these sweltering weeks that having a backyard oasis really pays off. Swimming pools offer fun, relaxation and relief from the heat, but they can also present a danger if you’re not careful.
Proper pool safety takes time, training and a little investment in supplies, but it won’t get in the way of your summer fun and it could save the life of someone you love. If you aren’t observing these safety priorities, start today so you can put safety first when you reopen the pool next summer.
Preparing the Pool
- Maintain a proper pH level. The pH level of your pool water should be between 7.2 and 7.8, with 7.4 being ideal, as that’s the pH of the fluid in your eyes. If the pH is too low, acidic water can cause serious eye irritation and can damage pool pumps and materials. If it’s too high, your pool can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause skin irritation. Test and chlorinate your pool regularly to keep its pH right where you want it.
- Erect a fence. If you have children living at home or visiting frequently, a fence around the pool area can help prevent unattended children from wandering into the water. The fence should have a self-latching gate.
- Keep safety supplies handy. A flotation device and pool hook should be accessible and in plain view of everyone using the pool.
- Use proper drain covers. Swimming pool drain covers are designed to prevent swimmers from getting stuck underwater due to pump suction. If a cover is missing or damaged, that suction can present a fatal danger.
- Get CPR certified. Knowing how to properly administer CPR to adults and children could save a life. If you’re not CPR certified, you can likely find single-session certification courses at local hospitals, community centers and swimming schools. After you become certified, it’s a good idea to maintain that certification with periodic retraining.
- Learn to swim and teach others. If you aren’t a strong swimmer, taking professional swimming lessons is an investment in your safety and the key to more enjoyable swimming. And if you do swim well and are comfortable teaching others, be sure to properly teach the young people in your home. You may find that your local YMCA or other community pools offer affordable lessons.
- Always monitor children and inexperienced swimmers in your pool. If you’re not certain a swimmer is safe, don’t leave that person alone in the water.
- Keep pool toys out of the pool when not in use. If a child sees them floating in the water, they might be tempted to go in after them.
- Designate a lifeguard. When there are multiple people in the pool, the safest arrangement is for one person to watch for trouble without distractions. That means no reading or playing on the phone -- lifeguard duty is a job.
- Keep a phone handy. In case of any type of medical emergency, be prepared to dial 911.
If you take these preparations and keep these good safety habits, your swimming season will be as safe as it is enjoyable. Check your pool today and if you need repairs or upgrades to your drain covers, pumps, filters or other components, reach out to your local Benjamin Franklin.