The Ultimate Pool and Garden Safety Handbook
While having a swimming pool during the summer months can be enjoyable, it is also a serious responsibility. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children and young adults aged five to twenty-four.
Every year, approximately 350 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools in the United States. However, older adults and pets are not immune to drowning in pools, but it is easily avoidable.
Pool and Garden Safety for Children
There is no doubt that children enjoy playing and splashing in water, so having a swimming pool or pond in the backyard can be appealing. Unfortunately, if children have unsupervised access to water, they can drown. Drownings can occur in:
- Pools for swimming
- Water buckets
Young children can drown in less than two inches of water, so they must be supervised by an adult or older teen wherever there is water. You can also use a combination of other methods to keep children from drowning.
Children’s Pool Safety
Create Pool Rules
Everyone in the family, regardless of age, should follow a set of rules when using the swimming pool. These rules could include the following:
- Do not run near the pool.
- If the pool isn’t deep enough, don’t dive in.
- Nothing electrical should be used near the pool.
- When the pool is not in use, keep toys out of the pool area.
- Riding toys are not permitted in the pool area.
- When not in use, leave inflatable pools empty.
To inform guests of the pool rules, post a sign near the pool, such as on the fence.
Build a Fence
Installing a fence around your outdoor living and pool area is the best way to keep young children and pets away from a swimming pool. When there is no adult supervision, the gate should be locked to prevent access to the pool. It will not only keep your children out of the pool, but it will also keep others out who may sneak into your yard to use the pool when you are not present.
Because chain link fences are so easy to climb, they are not the best choice for keeping children out of the pool area. A good pool fence should be:
- At least four feet tall and climbable. There should be no footholds or handholds to assist a child in climbing it.
- The gate leading to the pool should be kept in good condition and should be approximately 54 inches high measured from the bottom of the gate.
- Slats on the fence should not be wider than four inches.
- To make a chain link fence more difficult to climb, the diamond pattern should be no larger than 1 34″ in size.
- If the pool is above ground, install a gate that locks in front of the stairs to restrict access to the water.
- Teach them how to swim.
If you have a pool or intend to install one, everyone in the house should be able to swim. Around the age of four, young children can begin taking lessons from an instructor. If a child is ready to start swimming, some organizations, such as the YMCA, may offer swimming classes for children aged one to four.
Consider the following factors before enrolling your child in swimming lessons:
- How frequently will they be exposed to water?
- Their emotional development.
- Their physical abilities as well as their limitations
- Any health concerns you have about drinking water, being exposed to pool chemicals, or contracting an infection.
Floatation devices should be used by young children until they are old enough to swim well. They should know how to use water wings, a life vest, or an inflatable ring to stay afloat in the water.
Water Safety Education
Everyone in the family should be familiar with water safety so that they can handle themselves in a pool and avoid drowning. Although someone should be present to supervise your children, they should also be knowledgeable about water safety. You should instruct them to:
- Walk on water.
- Perform a back float.
- Climb into the pool, swim back to the wall, and then climb out.
- Hold on to the pool’s edge and walk sideways on it.
- Roll from front to back and back to front.
Your children should know how to properly enter and exit the pool. They must:
- Before you jump, take a deep breath.
- They should be able to blow bubbles through their nose.
- Swim to the surface to get some fresh air.
- Swim towards the wall.
Children’s Garden Safety
A garden can be another area of your yard that is dangerous for young children. Plants, sharp garden tools, and garden chemicals can all pose safety risks. However, by educating your children at a young age, they will be able to avoid being injured or accidentally poisoned while enjoying the beauty and serenity of a vegetable or flower garden.
Garden tools and chemicals should be stored and kept out of the reach of children after use. Curious children may injure themselves by attempting to use a garden hoe, clippers, or shovel, not to mention the damage they may cause to the garden.
When your children are nearby, do not spray or apply chemicals to plants. They can inhale them, which may cause respiratory problems or skin irritation. If chemicals get on their skin and it starts to turn pink or look inflamed, don’t use water to wash it off because the chemicals may react with water and aggravate the irritations.
Take your child to the emergency room instead, and bring the chemical with you so the doctor can properly treat them. Keep an eye on young children in the garden and keep them from picking at plants or putting fruits or leaves in their mouths. Poisonous plants and flowers in common gardens include:
Calla Lily of the Valley Holly Hock Lily Elephant’s Ears Marigolds
Also, if you have a garden pond, either build a fence around it or cover it with netting to keep your child away from the water. You can avoid swimming pool or garden emergencies involving your children by taking simple precautions.
Pool and Garden Safety for Pets
Although most dogs and cats can swim well, they can drown in swimming pools, spas, ponds, or any other body of water. Puppies and senior pets are more likely to drown in pools because they are the least skilled swimmers and are more likely to fall in.
How to Teach Your Dog to Swim
Bulldogs, for example, are incapable of swimming and will sink to the bottom of a pool. To avoid drownings, teach your pet to swim before allowing them to enter the pool on their own. They will quickly learn with patience, but they may be afraid of the water at first.
Do not throw your dog in the pool and expect him to swim like a pro. Get in the pool with them and have them walk beside you in the shallow end before moving into deeper waters. Hold your dog up as they try to doggie paddle, and when you think it’s time for them to try it on their own, let him or her go, but stay close by.
After their lesson, show your dog where to exit the pool and rinse their fur with fresh water. After their lessons, make sure to praise your dog for doing a good job so they will be eager to please you and get back into the pool.
Note: If your pet sheds, it is critical to clean and service your pool on a regular basis to keep your equipment in good working order so that your family can enjoy the pool when needed.
Purchase a Life Vest
Consider purchasing a life vest for your dog if he or she does not swim well and is frequently around water. As previously stated, some dogs, such as bulldogs, are unable to swim and will require a floatation device to keep them from sinking. Dog life vests come in a variety of sizes and have handles on the back to remove your dog from the water if necessary.
Install a Security System
You can add an alarm to your pool to notify you whenever someone enters or exits the pool area. When a pet or a child is in the pool area, an alarm can alert you. There are also alarms available for a pet’s collar that will notify you when they are near the pool or have fallen in, allowing you to check to see if they require assistance.
Allowing your pet access to the garden can cause issues for both you and your pet. Dogs love to dig, so your favorite flowers may be ruined if your dog decides the soft soil is a good place to bury a bone. Pets, like small children, are naturally curious, and biting into the wrong plant can make them very sick.
While some of the plants mentioned previously can make your pet sick, there are also fruits and vegetables grown in gardens that can make them sick. They are as follows:
- Tomato plants
The best way to keep your pet out of the garden is to surround it with a fence and spend time teaching your dog that the garden area is off limits to him or her.
Pool Safety for Senior Citizens
Swimming is an excellent exercise for older people because it keeps arthritic joints flexible and provides a good cardiovascular workout. They must, however, be aware of pool safety rules in order to avoid accidents in the pool area.
Even people in good health can slip and fall on a swimming pool deck, but a fall can be fatal for seniors. Falls are the leading cause of death for those 65 and older, with approximately 9,500 deaths due to falls occurring each year.
Put abrasive tape strips or slip-resistant paint where people walk when they get out of the pool to help prevent falls. Also, if you have lightweight lounge furniture, add tip brackets to the table and chair legs to keep it from tipping over and causing a fall. The brackets can also be used to keep the furniture from slipping on wet concrete. In rare cases, you may want to consider remodeling your pool to make it easier to get in and out of.
When most people are in a swimming pool, the weather is usually warm. As a result, everyone, especially seniors, should drink water to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if it’s hot outside. Keeping hydrated can help prevent fainting or lightheadedness, which can lead to a fall into the water or on a slick deck.
Unfortunately, some seniors become suicidal after losing a spouse through death or divorce, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, experiencing financial difficulties, or becoming physically disabled. While seniors make up only 12% of the population, they account for 18% of all suicide deaths.
Suicidal seniors frequently choose drowning as a means of death. It is critical to keep an eye on an elderly loved one if they are:
- They are losing interest in the things they enjoy.
- Withdrawal is occurring.
- They’re getting their affairs in order.
- Medication stockpiling
If you suspect your loved one is suicidal, you should consider installing a pool alarm that detects motion in the water. Also, seek professional therapist help for your loved one and encourage them to see someone so they can get help. Installing a motorized pool cover to prevent access to the water may be a good idea.
Whether you have small children, pets, or elderly relatives living with you, it is critical to establish and adhere to swimming pool and garden safety rules to keep everyone safe. Also, make sure that adults and older children are familiar with CPR in case someone falls into the pool by accident, as it could save someone’s life.