Buying a home that has a swimming pool may seem like a dream come true initially, especially if you and your family are avid swimmers. However, there’s more to having a pool than simply sticking a hose in a hole in the ground, filling it with water, and jumping in. You’re going to have to keep your pool clean and maintained if you want to enjoy it for the foreseeable future, and you’ll certainly want to make sure that you create a safe environment for family recreation. And this goes well beyond skimming the pool with a net once in a while and telling the kinds not to run near the pool. Here are just a few tips that are sure to help you create and maintain a safe swimming environment that your family will enjoy.
- Fencing. The best way to guarantee pool safety is to make sure that your swimming pool is not in use when you aren’t around to supervise. Many states have laws in place that require fencing (at a minimum of 4-5 feet in height) surrounding a pool area, as well as locking gates to keep children out. And considering you not only have to worry about your own kids, but also the potential liability should other kids get into your pool, it makes sense to include this important safety feature when you own property that features a pool. You don’t want any kids (yours or neighbors) wandering in unattended, especially considering the high percentage of childhood deaths attributed to drowning accidents each year.
- Anti-drowning products. Even with adult supervision, accidents can happen in swimming pools. So there are several items you may want to use in order to prevent or at least minimize this potential. You should start by installing drain covers. In the last several years there have been a slew of widely-publicized cases of children drowning when they became stuck in the suction of pool drains. Drain covers guard against this possibility. You might also want to add non-slip surfaces around the pool since concrete and tile can become extremely slippery and hazardous when wet. And you should think about adding a safety cover for times when your pool is not in use. This taut, solid or net cover will ensure that small children are unable to fall into the water.
- Pool rules. Although rules can certainly be broken, it’s important to teach your kids how to behave properly in order to avoid accident and injury when using the pool. The first and most important rule is that kids should never use the pool without adult supervision. This is, of course, more easily enforced when the pool is surrounded by a locked gate and you have the only key. Other rules may include no running in the pool area, no hitting, fighting, or splashing, and no jumping in the shallow end, just for example.
- Regular cleaning and maintenance. Although many people choose to clean and maintain their own pools, you may want to start by at least hiring a service that can give you lessons in how to do this properly if you plan to adopt a DIY attitude where your pool is concerned. You need to understand the mechanics and chemistry of your pool, including equipment, waterways, and chemical balances, in order to ensure that your pool is properly maintained and safe to swim in. And while it’s certainly easier to hire a service to take care of these tasks for you, there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself to save a few bucks, so long as you receive proper instruction.
- Winterizing your pool. If you live in a climate that is warm year-round, you can continue to clean and maintain your pool more or less normally throughout the winter. You may have to add more water to account for evaporation when the outdoor temperature is colder and dryer, and your chemical levels might fluctuate differently when you’re not using the pool as much, but you’ll see very little change overall. If, however, you live in a cold climate and you’re unlikely to use the pool, you might want to consider getting a pool cover from an outlet like Royal Swimming Pools, adding winterizing chemicals, and taking other steps to ensure that your pool doesn’t freeze or suffer other damage before the warm weather returns.