Having a pool, pond, spa, or hot tub on your property is a huge responsibility
when it comes to safety. Remember, drowning
can happen in seconds to minutes, and is often completely silent. So vigilance is
key. Here's how you can keep kids — yours and others' — safe.
A fence that goes directly around a pool or spa is the best safety investment you
can make. Four-sided pool fencing decreases water-related injuries in young children
by over 50%.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says fences should meet these standards:
They should be at least 4 feet (130 centimeters) high, though experts prefer a
height of 5 feet (152 centimeters). They should have no foot or handrails for kids
to climb on.
The slats should be less than 4 inches (110 millimeters) apart so a child can't
get through. A chain link fence should have no openings larger than 1-3/4 inches (50
Gates should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be out of kids'
reach, at least 4-1/2 feet (137 centimeters) above the bottom of the gate.
If you have a pool, make sure that kids:
Do not run or push each other around the pool.
Never dive in areas that are not marked for diving.
Get out of the pool right away in bad weather, especially if there's lightning.
Above all, watch kids at all times. Swimming lessons and flotation devices do
not eliminate drowning risks.
Other things to keep in mind:
If you're at a party, designate an adult to watch kids in the pool. Consider a
"water watcher badge" for this person to wear while he or she is responsible for the
safety of swimmers. This person should be sober and not distracted.
Seconds count in a water emergency, so keep your cellphone with you when it's
your turn to watch the kids in case there's an emergency.
Make sure that babysitters
and other caregivers know your rules for the pool.