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Pools and kids: Do you follow these safety musts?

A beach ball floating in a pool.

Be a lifesaver. Get clear on pool safety.

July 20, 2019—It can happen in mere minutes: What's meant to be a fun day at the swimming pool turns tragic.

Summertime means pool time in many backyards and community centers. It's a great way for kids to have fun and cool off in the summer heat. Just be sure to follow these safety musts from Safe Kids Worldwide and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you have a pool

  • Your pool should be surrounded by a fence that's at least 4 feet tall. The gates should self-close and self-latch.
  • Be sure your pool has anti-entrapment drain covers. These prevent children from becoming sucked onto the drain and trapped underwater.
  • Cover your pool when it's not in use. Make sure there is no standing water on top of the pool cover.
  • If you have an aboveground pool, lock or remove any ladders to prevent access when not in use.

Before your kids go swimming

  • Teach them how to swim. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for most children ages 4 and older. Even children ages 1 to 4 might be ready for lessons.
  • Children should also know how to resurface after jumping into water that's over their head. And they should be able to tread water for at least one minute.
  • Make sure older children know they should swim with a buddy, not alone.
  • Remind kids to stay away from the drains in a swimming pool.
  • Make sure they understand why it's dangerous to run on the pool deck.
  • Consider taking a CPR class before pool season. You may want to learn some basic water rescue techniques too.

While kids are swimming

  • An adult who can swim should be present and watching the kids at all times. This person should not be on the phone, tending to chores, socializing or drinking alcohol.
  • For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the pool and within arm's reach.
  • Keep bikes and riding toys out of the pool area.
  • Allow diving only in pools with deep sections.
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