If you have a toddler and a pool at your home, you may be unsure of what you need to do to help keep your child safe. Drowning is a serious threat to a child’s safety. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death by unintentional injury in children ages 1 through 4. However, there are many precautions you can take in order to prepare your pool for your toddler. Even though your toddler might be so excited to get in the water, there can be many potential dangers waiting for them if you have not taken the necessary safety precautions. The good news for you as a parent is that toddler proofing your pool is not as hard as it seems and there are many ways to go about it. I will share eight of the best ways to prepare your pool for your toddler to ensure their safety and provide you with peace of mind.
1. Set up a barrier around your pool
One way to protect your toddlers from easily accessing your pool is by putting up a barrier around the pool’s perimeter. This can be a fence or other safeguard that creates a complete barrier around your pool. This will provide a first line of defense if your toddler happens to get outside and out of your sight. The barrier gate should always open outwards away from the pool and it should also be self-latching and closing. While some states and cities have laws that require surrounding pool barriers, it is always best to have one if you have small children at your home even if it’s not a legal requirement in your area.
2. Install a security alarm system
Installing an alarm system can help add an additional layer of security and protection when you are not around. Kids are kids and you never know when they could slip outside out of your view to get in the pool. That is why installing an alarm system that can alert you when a gate is being opened or closed can help provide extra safety precaution to ensure your child does not access the pool without you knowing. There are also more advanced alarm systems such as an underwater system that can be installed to detect any waves or motion such as if someone falls into the pool unexpectedly.
3. Have a first aid kit and rescue equipment on hand
It’s extremely important to have the proper rescue equipment nearby your pool if a bad situation arises. A life ring or rescue tube are essential to have handy to help pull someone to safety out of the water if needed. Also, a first aid kit is important to have around in case someone gets injured or cut and needs bandages. Be sure to keep these items near your pool and clearly marked so that anyone can locate these things in case of emergency.
4. Properly store any pool chemicals
While pool chemicals are essential to keeping your pool running correctly, they are not good for your body and should not be left around for toddlers to accidentally get ahold of. Pool chemicals should be kept in a specific, locked bin that is well out of reach for small children. Make sure that your bin is also well ventilated to prevent any issues with the chemicals it is holding.
5. Get rid of your diving board
While adding a diving board to your home pool be a fun and exciting addition, it also adds significant risks for young children. Young children are attracted to “toys” they see others using, and a diving board can lure them out above the water in an unsafe situation. A toddler can easily slip off the diving board and hit their head or another part of their body causing an injury. By getting rid of the diving board, you can mitigate some of the potential risks.
6. Establish pool rules for your toddlers
When in doubt, always go back to the basics of setting rules for the pool. Inform your children of the potential risks that they can encounter along with an effective plan for avoiding these risks. By setting boundaries and rules, this should sway your child or children away from getting into a bad situation around the pool. A few of the basic rules that should be included are:
- No running around the pool perimeter
- Do not go near the pool unless there is an adult around to supervise
7. Have family members of age do CPR training
CPR training is beneficial to have for a variety of reasons, but it’s even more important to have if you own a pool and have children. CPR can be a lifesaving move for a toddler who gets into trouble in the water. There are many organizations around the country such as the Red Cross that offer inexpensive or even free CPR certification training. There are some options for CPR classes online, however, it is best to take these training courses in person so that you can work with an instructor who can help you refine your technique. This will put you in a better spot if the situation ever arises that you do have to perform CPR on your child or someone else. It is recommended for all adults in your household to get this training.
8. Have a swimming teacher come to your home pool
Knowing how to swim is an important consideration for your toddlers before introducing them to the pool. No matter how young or how old, knowing how to swim is an essential skill if you have a home pool. Whether you teach your kids how to swim or you hire a professional swimming teacher, this is an investment of time or money that will greatly decrease the risk of drowning at your home’s pool.
These are some of the best steps you can take as a parent to reduce the risks of your toddler getting into trouble at your home pool. You may not implement every one of these eight recommendations, but even putting half of these into effect will make a huge difference in terms of safety. Once you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions, you’ll find that it’s much easier to enjoy your family pool during pool season.
About the author
Jillian Fell works for Global Pool Products, a Michigan manufacturer of pool slides, railings, and accessibility products based in Bad Axe, Michigan.