Summer is in full swing, and the Texas heat is here. Swimming pools are a great way to cool down and keep kids active over the summer. Without the right rules, however, swimming pools can also be very dangerous.
Did you know that 3,500 people die from drowning each year? In fact, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children between the ages of one and four. Further, other mishaps like slip-and-falls and diving accidents cause thousands of poolside injuries, too.
To help you and other Texans avoid swimming pool injuries this summer, we’ve put together a quick guide of swimming pool safety tips.
Never Leave Texas Children Unattended Near a Pool
Child drownings are often silent and fast – a child can fatally drown in just a few minutes. For this reason, children should never be left unattended in or near a pool.
Designate an official water watcher, a responsible adult tasked with keeping eyes on children in the water at all times. This should be this adult’s only task — reading, texting, and playing games on phones are all distraction enough for a serious accident to go unnoticed until it’s too late.
The water watcher should have a phone nearby to call for help if needed. Also, if a child goes missing, check the water first.
Secure Your Texas Pool With Appropriate Barriers
Children are curious. Wandering into an unsecured pool can lead to drowning before any adults even notice the child’s gone. All backyard swimming pools should be secured with appropriate fencing, gates, and latches as a preventive barrier from this tragic accident from occurring.
Any pool or spa fencing should surround the water feature on all sides and stand at least four feet high. The barrier used should also be one that small children can’t climb over.
Water should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching, childproof gate.
When not in use, cover your pool or spa to limit interest. Installing an alarm on the exterior door nearest to the pool area is a wise investment, too.
Teach Your Little (and Big) Texans How to Swim
Swimming lessons are fun for kids and adults who need them, and they teach lifesaving skills. It’s advisable to enroll yourself or your children in professional swimming lessons, as these classes will better teach kids how to swim.
Check your local YMCA, Parks and Recreation Department and USA Swimming chapter for available swimming lessons in your area.
Establish Rules Before You Get In to a Texas Pool
Establish clear pool rules to keep everyone safe from pool accidents. Kids should understand why each rule exists and be able to tell you what each one means.
It’s never safe to run on the pool deck, and never funny or safe to dunk or push friends into the water. Advise all visitors of any hazards specific to your pool, for example a broken ladder or deep end that’s too shallow for diving.
Be sure that everyone who uses your pool knows the rules, and don’t be afraid to remind anyone of them when play becomes too rowdy. You may also opt to post your pool rules as a gentle reminder.
Get CPR Certified in Texas
You never know when you’re going to need these lifesaving skills yourself. If you have a pool, enroll in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class and get certified. Older kids and teens are advised to take a class, too. Certification can be critical in the event of an emergency.
A few simple swimming pool safety precautions can help everyone enjoy your pool safety and healthily, preventing tragic accidents. If you or someone you love is the victim of a swimming injury due to another’s negligence, learn what you can do to seek justice.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.