Drowning is swift and silent — there is often no struggle, splashing, or cry for help. It can take as few as 20 seconds to sink below the water and only minutes to drown. If you own a pool, you have the power to make sure everyone is safe while swimming and playing in the water. Follow these tips to learn how to keep everyone safe in the pool.
Learn to swim and be prepared for an emergency
- Learn how to swim. If you can’t swim or aren’t a strong swimmer, keep to shallow areas or use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Swim with a buddy and never alone, even if you’re a strong swimmer.
- Teach everyone in your home how to dial 911 in an emergency
- Learn CPR. The American Red Cross offers a wide selection of CPR/AED, first aid, lifeguarding, swimming and water safety, caregiving, disaster response and emergency preparedness training. Find information on CPR classes.
Be alert and supervise closely
- Supervise children in and around the pool at all times.
- Designate an adult “water watcher” to supervise children. Being a water watcher means avoiding any distractions, even for a moment. If in a large group of adults, create a schedule of water watchers.
- Avoid distractions while supervising children (i.e., reading, texting, talking on the phone, drinking alcohol).
- When children are done swimming, remove floats, balls, and other toys from the pool so that children are not tempted to reach for them.
- Make sure to secure the pool after use so children cannot get back in.
Use safety equipment and pool fences
- Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the house and play area of the yard from the pool area.
- Keep children away from pool fences to make sure they don’t climb on them.
- Use a gate that closes and latches by itself whenever it is opened, and make sure the latch is on the pool side of the gate, out of reach of small children.
- Consider additional barriers, such as automatic door locks to limit access or alarms that will notify you if someone enters the pool area.
- Make your pool drains safe. You can install special drain covers or a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) to keep children from getting pulled and trapped into the pool drain.
- Keep rescue equipment, such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver, and a cellphone nearby in case of an emergency.