Information you need to live a happy, worry-free retirement!
Originally published July 8, 2013, last updated February 20, 2014
Pool Time Preparations
It’s a moment that still terrorizes me. The sight of the drain at the bottom of the swimming pool, getting closer as though floating up toward me, then total darkness…
Next thing I knew, I was looking up at the lights from the YMCA ceiling and the face of a lifeguard. “Can you hear me?” he asked. Slowly, I swam back to consciousness – but to this day, over 35 years later, I still cannot swim. I’m too afraid to learn.
Even in a protected environment, pool safety is anything but guaranteed. In my case, my fourth-grade friends were simply roughhousing with me. I was in the shallow end, but they pulled me over to deeper waters. Still, I was having fun…until they dunked my head beneath the water and shoved me downward.
Despite that memory, today I enjoy treading along the shallow side of the pool but, understandably, am very safety conscious. And while you may not have a traumatic experience serving as motivation, safety should be foremost for you, too – especially when involving children. The average child stays on the surface of the water for only 10 seconds and the drowning process can start after they are submerged within 20 seconds.
As you plan your pool fun, start with these five vital precautions in mind:
Your pool should be completely enclosed with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. The house should not be included as a part of the barrier. Make sure your pool deck is made of or treated with slip-resistant materials, and pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
The steps of the pool ladder should be at least three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on both sides small enough for a child to grasp. There should be a ladder at both ends of the pool. Check with a professional pool contractor to be sure the depth is sufficient for a diving board or slide. Always put a slide in a deep area of the pool – never in shallow water.
If you have an above-ground pool, install sturdy guard rails around the pool deck. Look for rolled rims on the metal shell to be sure the rims do not present a sharp cutting edge if someone falls. The access ladder to the deck should be sturdy and without protruding bolts or other sharp edges, and should either swing up to prevent children from unauthorized entry or easily removable for secure storage away from the pool area.
Swim day checklist
Next, before anyone heads to the pool, review this checklist to ensure you’re fully safe for swimming:
Of course, pool time and sun safety go hand-in-hand. Toronto Public Health offers these six pointers to keep in mind to protect you from sunburn and possible skin cancer.
Do all you can to be pool time prepared – and your fun will be terrific, not terrorizing.
Adam Colwell is president of his own writing and editing production company. He is married, father of two daughters and lives in Tucson, AZ.