Having a pool can be one of the greatest things you can do for your home. It’s a family gathering place, a play area, and a great excuse for a party. Unfortunately it is also something that can increase your homeowners’ insurance payments. The CDC documents that around 10 people per day die from drowning, and half of them are younger than 14. Even worse, it’s children ages one through four who have the highest drowning rates in home swimming pools. Nearly 80 percent of these accidental drownings occurred while children were being supervised by their parents.
So what can you do to make your pool safe? Here are a few helpful hints.
- Teach everyone to swim. This goes for adults and children alike. Before you even break ground for that swimming pool get swimming lessons at the local YMCA. Learning how to swim can decrease drowning risk even among the youngest children according to the CDC.
- As great as that pitcher of margaritas at the barbecue can sound, alcohol is a huge risk factor in drowning deaths. Keep alcohol out of the hands of swimmers, and keep intake moderate. Alcohol affects judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of risky behavior or injury.
- Even with close supervision, a child or an adult can get into trouble or even drown. Mandate breaks where everyone gets out of the water, sits down and has something to eat or drink.
- Make sure that the water is not crowded with pool toys so that it is easier to see if someone is struggling or going under.
- Don’t swim when you are tired, if you are under the influence of drugs, or if you have been drinking.
- Layer your pool protections. Your pool should be surrounded on all sides by a fence that is at least four feet tall, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. As an additional layer of protection, the gate can be rigged to trigger an alarm inside the house, and a motion activated camera can capture any intruders. You may also want to install a rigid, powered pool cover and make sure that the controls are locked down and out of reach. Underwater motion detectors are more effective than those that monitor water movement on the surface.
- Make sure that there is always someone present who knows how to administer CPR.
- Make sure that people who are ill do not get in the pool. While chlorination in a properly maintained swimming pool can kill a number of nasty infections, it can’t do everything. In fact chlorine can take up to a week to kill off Cryptosporidium, and may have trouble killing off staph infections, molluscum contagiosum, and other nasties.
These are just a few of the tips that we have on hand to help you enjoy your new pool safely. We hope that you will enjoy your backyard pool for many years to come, and at E&L we can help you with an insurance policy that will keep you covered.