Stay Safe While Enjoying Swimming Pools

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Allegheny County Health Department is offering advice for children as well as adults on how to stay safe and avoid danger while enjoying swimming pools this summer.

Since 2001 at least 11 County residents, including six children and two seniors, have drowned in swimming pools. The children ranged from 6 to 16 years of age, and the seniors were 73 and 88.

The following precautions are recommended for residential as well as public swimming pools to reduce the risk not only of drownings but also injuries and infections:

* Never leave children, even those who can swim, unattended in or around a pool. A fence or barrier at least five feet high should surround a permanent backyard pool, preferably without using the house as a barrier on any side. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch out of a young child’s reach.

* Barriers and fencing are particularly important for increasingly popular large inflatable pools that often have flexible sides which make it easy for little kids to climb into the pool.

* Never allow anyone, especially children, to swim without a “spotter” who can maintain constant eye contact. Keep a safety buoy at poolside and a first aid kit nearby.

* Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you own a residential pool.

* Don’t leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young children and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for such items.

* Because every second counts when a kid slips under water, always look for a missing child in the pool first and don’t waste precious time looking anywhere but in the pool.


* Don’t rely on water wings or toy flotation devices as life preservers for children.

* Keep tricycles and other riding toys out of the pool area.

* Don’t allow running on the deck, pushing into the pool or dunking.

* Never slide headfirst or dive into an above-ground pool.

* Don’t dive from a pool deck unless the water is at least five feet deep.

* Never dive from a diving board unless the water is at least 11 feet deep.

* Teach children to respect lifeguards and follow the rules at public pools.

* Drain and clean backyard kiddie pools after each use to minimize the risk of infection.

* Keep sick kids out of a pool, even if it’s filtered and chlorinated, especially a toddler still in diapers or one not yet toilet trained. Adults should also stay out when sick.

* Stay out of the pool and off wet ground when thunder or lightning approaches.

* Pools don’t mix with alcohol or drugs. Be extra cautious with anyone under the influence.