Children and water are a perfect combination, and swimming is good exercise and can be pure enjoyment. Installing an above ground swimming pool in your backyard makes swimming more convenient and accessible for your children. Before letting them suit up and jump in, however, it's essential to take several steps to make the pool and pool area safe. The key is to implement several layers of protection rather than just relying on one protection method.
Nothing Replaces Constant Supervision
There are no safety measures you can take that work better than diligent supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that a responsible adult pay close attention when children are in the pool. This means that you must remain distraction-free. Don't use a computer, read a book or play on your tablet. Keep your eyes on your children at all times, even if they are older and are able to swim.
Put Up a Fence
A fence completely surrounding your above ground pool is essential. While it won't decrease the risk of drowning completely, a fence that encloses the entire pool area will greatly decrease the risk that your child will be able to get into the pool without your permission. The safest fences are at least 4 feet high and have a gate with a childproof lock installed on it. The type of fence matters, too. The safest fence is one that has a structural design that your child can't use to climb over, so chain link fences aren't a good choice.
Keep Your Yard Neat and Tidy
Store outdoor toys and pool toys away from the pool area. If your child sees a fun pool toy floating on the surface of the water, it's enticing to try to retrieve that plaything. Keeping the pool toys stashed out of sight is another layer of pool protection. Keep things that your child can use to climb over the fence, such as large toys, safely stored out of reach, as well. A pool cover is another good idea that will help keep the pool out of sight and less enticing.
Childproof the Pool Itself
If your above ground swimming pool is tall enough to require a ladder, make sure the one you have swings up and over so your child isn't able to climb into the pool without your knowledge. Regularly inspect the pool for sharp edges and protruding parts. These don't necessarily pose a drowning risk, but they do reduce the overall safety of the swimming pool. To keep your pool as safe as possible, work with a company like All-American Pools & Spa for regular inspections and maintenance.
Enroll Your Child in Swim Lessons
Another effective layer of protection when it comes to above ground swimming pools is knowing how to swim. Recreation centers and private pools offer age-appropriate swim lessons, and these can help reduce the risk of drowning.