Keeping our children on Long Island, NY safe has always been one of our biggest concerns as parents. With the growing threats we see in the newspapers and on T.V. daily it can seem overwhelming at times. Our children deserve to feel safe, comfortable and secure especially in their home environment. But what can we do as parents to protect our children from a drowning or near drowning.
Children see their backyard swimming pool as a place where family fun happens. To them it’s a place where the family gathers in the summer and it’s a safe fun place where nothing bad can happen. They have no fear because all they see is fun. As parents this is very concerning and we need to have a plan to make sure our kids are safe.
In this coming New Year we will more than likely be spending more and more time in our own backyards, especially with what’s happening outside of our homes. But in our homes we have the say, we are the ruler of that kingdom. It is our job to make sure that the environment that we created is Safe Secure and Comfortable for all of our children.
Pool Safety comes in layers meaning. If one layer fails there must be other back up layers in place. It should be our New Years resolution to have a failsafe system in place with multiple back up layers of protection. Having a swimming pool in our backyards comes with great responsibility. Their lives truly depend upon our decisions, so they should be planned and well thought through.
Direct parental supervision is always the 1st layer of protection and we need to have rules in place so we don’t ever turn our focus from watching our children. Research has shown that 69% of all Drowning incidents happen when 1 or both parents were responsible supervising their child. So this tells us that we need other layers in place.
The second layer of protection is high locks on all home doors and gates leading into the backyard. If you have older children in your home who can reach these locks you may want hide the key so if they want to go out than they need to ask you.
A third Layer of Safety is Alarms on doors and gates leading into the backyard. Most homes have an alarm system in them and all have the chime mode feature, which will alert you if a door or window has been open. There are also several companies that make door alarms that also alert you when a door is open. Some may see these alarms as very annoying and opt out from using them, however when they sound they are doing what there supposed to, alerting you of a breach in your security. Get used to it – It Can Save A Life!
Another Layer is a Pool fence that blocks all access points to the swimming pool. It should have a gate that is self – closing and self – latching. The gate latch should be key lockable and mounted higher than the fence. The pool fence should be 4’ tall but always check your local codes for height regulations first. Your Pool safety fence should not have any staging platforms such as a table or a chair near it. It should also be see through, having a fence that blocks you from seeing the pool is not a good idea. You always want to be able to see the pool. Some people think that a pool fence will take away from the looks of your pool. Or say that they don’t want the holes in their deck and see it only as a eye soar. An unprotected pool is a huge threat to a child! Leaving a loaded gun on a coffee table in the living room is something none of us would ever do. But why are there so many unprotected Swimming pools then. The truth is there is no difference of that loaded gun and that unprotected pool they both have the same outcome. A pool fence is one of the most important layers in our failsafe plan.
A pool alarm that is in the swimming pool will sound if there is a disturbance to the water. They sound at the pool and in your home, there purposely set up to make you go to the pool to deactivate it from alarm mode so you must inspect the pool. Some believe this is annoying, again the pool alarm is doing it’s job when it sounds, even if it a false alarm from high winds it’s still doing its job. A pool alarm is a huge back up to a pool fence and should always be considered.
Swimming survival lessons is also very important for children and they should go from the time they can crawl. There are many programs available and should always be considered.
A Failsafe plan is a plan with multiple back up layers. Therefore for a drowning to occur – no ones watching the child – the door was left open – the door alarm was removed – The pool fence was taken down – the pool alarm was removed – the child never had swimming lessons. When you think pool safety you need to think hard core and you need multiple back ups. A safer happier family at pool time only happens when we have back up layers of safety.
If you live in the New York Area, remember that it is never too early to start planning for Spring Pool Safety! Share this with a friend if you have found it to be helpful.