swimming I

Memorial Day to Independence Day–the best 6 weeks of the year!  Longest days and mostly comfortable temperatures.  Schools end and vacations begin.  And I get to open my pool.  Let’s spend a bit of time on pool safety.

First, by code all backyards with pools must have a fence with a self closing and self locking gate that opens out from the yard.  Beyond this, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises that all pools–above and below ground–be enclosed on all 4 sides by a fence, completely separating the house from the pool, and necessitating effort to be made to go from the house to poolside.  This is an important safety measure to limit the risk that a small unattended child might gain access to the pool area. Note that there are a number of alarm products on the market that can be set to go off if an unattended pool is entered, like by a young child who accidently wanders into the yard by himself and falls in.  While these alarms can be of some use, they are not a subsitute for the 4 sided safety fence.  Of course, children should never be left alone by a swimming pool even for a second.

Another poolside safety issue is the blue plastic “solar covers” used to maintain a more comfortable water temperature and limit heating costs for your pool.  I am not necessarily advising against them.  But strong caution must be accompanied with their use.  Not only small children, but pets or even strong adults falling onto them can become quickly enveloped and tangled in them, become incapacitated, and drown.  So please be aware.

Finally, a word about “boards.”  The rule at the Geneslaw pool has always been “no head first entry anywhere, anytime.”  So when my kids’ friends would point out–“but Dr. G, you have a diving board…” my response has always been–“it’s not a diving board, it’s a JUMPING board.”  The deep end of your back yard inground pool is simply not wide enough to accomodate such activity, in my opinion.  Strong young adolescents can easily launch themselves–even without the board– well beyond the “safe”/deep area and hit their heads on the bottom, sides, etc.  In particular teenage boys at a “pool party”–out to impress the girls–will first blur and then obliterate any arbitrary line where”it’s ok to dive here but not there” and will soon be going in head first EVERYWHERE.  And don’t even get me started about pool slides.  Somebody is going to try and show off, climb to the top to dive off.  So not a fan.

We’ll talk more pool safety next time.  It’s the summer–ENJOY.

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