While Labor Day signaled the official end of summer, September still has a couple of warm weekends to spare. And what better way to celebrate those pre-fall-weather days than by inviting everyone over for a pool party? Of course, it’s easy to focus on prepping your grill and stocking the cooler, but it’s also important to ensure your pool area is safe for your guests. From installing alarms, nets, and fences to maintaining your pool’s chemical levels, make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent water-related injuries and accidents from happening on your watch.
Here are 5 things you can do to help ensure a safe pool party.
1. Be an active supervisor
With over 200 children drowning in their backyard swimming pools each year, pool safety is serious business. When a child falls into a pool, it can be an eerily quiet event — sometimes without any splashing or yelling to signal distress. Kids playing anywhere near a pool, hot tub, or other body of water must be continuously supervised by an adult who’s paying close attention (being within earshot and staring at your phone won’t cut it). Toddlers and babies should be kept within arm’s reach and actively supervised, even when using baby pools (babies and toddlers can drown in just an inch of water). Keep lifesaving equipment on hand and make sure supervising adults are familiar with first aid, basic water rescue, and CPR.
2. Teach your kids how to swim
Getting kids comfortable in the water takes time, so start early by enrolling them in age-appropriate water safety and swim classes. Learning how to tread water, float, and get out of a pool (elbow, elbow, tummy, knee) are critical swimming safety milestones. And remember: though swim aids like water wings and noodles are fun, they aren’t substitutes for active supervision or U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs).
3. Establish pool rules
No diving in the shallow end. No running near the pool. Always swim with a buddy. Never swim during a storm. Determine what the rules are for your backyard pool, communicate them with your family and guests, and don’t be shy about enforcing them.
4. Use barriers to secure your pool
Enclosing above- and in-ground pools with a fence is now a requirement in most states. While specific code requirements vary between jurisdictions, fences are usually required to be at least 4 feet high with self-closing, self-locking gates in most cases. Installing properly fitted safety covers on pools, hot tubs, and filters is also a must. Additionally, pool alarms, floating motion sensors, wearable alarms (for kids), and pool nets are great ways to improve your pool security.
5. Keep pools clean and clear
Cloudy pool water caused by algae, bacteria, or inadequate filtering and cleaning is not only bad for your health — it can also contribute to drowning deaths. Decreased visibility makes scanning a pool and locating a person in distress much harder, especially during a rescue when every second matters. Make sure pools are properly maintained by keeping chemicals within their ideal range and regularly cleaning and checking your filters. Pool vacuums are great for maintaining a clean pool environment, but they should be removed or turned off before anyone gets in the water.
By being mindful and taking the necessary precautions, you can help your guests stay safe while they’re having a blast. And you can also relax, knowing your homeowner’s insurance policy has you covered.