Swimming pool safety: Tips that could save someone's life

Parents urged to watch children when they are near water

By Harley Smith - Digital Intern

Photo by Artem Verbo

ORLANDO, Fla. - Millions of people are heading to the pool to cool off as temperatures rise, but before you go for a refreshing dip, make sure to take these safety precautions. 

The first step in pool safety is knowing the risks, which are drowning, contaminated pools and chemical exposure. 

Drowning prevention

According to the Red Cross, more than 200 children drown in swimming pools each year.

[READ: Olympic skier's 19-month-old daughter drowns]

To prevent drowning, start by securing your pool or hot tub with barriers. These barriers should be at least 4 feet tall and self-closing. Make them stable enough so that a child would not be able to climb over, under, around or through the boundaries.

For extra prevention, consider placing a safety cover over the pool and having an alarm that signals a pool entry.  

Have someone watching children at all times when they are by the pool. Keep children within arm's reach and have a set list of pool rules, such as "Swim with a buddy" and "Walk, please" to establish safe swimming habits. 

Ensure that everyone at your home not only knows how to swim, but is a strong swimmer. There are many places in Central Florida, from the local YMCAs to SeaWorld's Aquaticathat offer swim lessons. The Red Cross also provides water safety courses on its website. 

Another way to prevent drowning is to have the right equipment. Make sure to keep a first-aid kit, reaching device and throwing device by your pool. Also, get certified in CPR to be able to take immediate action in an emergency situation. 

Minimizing contaminates in the pool and avoiding exposure to chemicals 

Test your pool water regularly to prevent contamination from bacteria and germs. 

Make sure that its pH levels are balanced and follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning. Unbalanced and dirty water not only harbors germs but can irritate the skin and the eyes. 

Containments come into the water through swimmers, air, runoff, pollen and other sources. To keep a clean swimming space, vacuum often and keep the water clear of debris. 

When dealing with chemicals, remember that you should never add water to chemicals. Instead, always add chemicals to water.

In addition, it is important to keep chemicals in their original containers. The potent substances can easily be mistaken for something else if placed if a different bottle, such as a generic water bottle, and can lead to a fatality.  

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe by the pool, visit the American Red Cross' website on pool and water safety and look over the safety tips below (source). 

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