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Pool Safety Tips: The Importance of Active Adult Supervision

May is Water Safety Month, and as families gear up for warmer weather and fun-filled days by the pool, it's crucial to highlight the importance of pool supervision. During pool season, the risk of pool accidents significantly increases due to open and uncovered pools being more accessible and an influx of pool parties. Also, with children out of school for the summer, there is an increased likelihood of adults not paying as much attention to what children are doing outside. 

Here at In The Swim, pool safety is just as important as pool maintenance, and while it can be uncomfortable to discuss pool-related accidents, it’s important to know the statistics. The Red Cross reports that drowning among children between the ages of 1–14 is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes, and for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries. However, proper supervision around the pool can greatly reduce the risk of drowning.

In this article, we'll discuss the importance of proper pool supervision, what it is, how it can be accomplished, and what equipment you should always have on hand to ensure the safety of swimmers.

What is Active Adult Supervision?

Active adult supervision involves constant, vigilant monitoring of individuals who are swimming or playing in and around the pool. An active adult supervisor should be ready to intervene at any sign of danger, as well as provide pool safety equipment, including life vests and life preservers. This form of supervision is vital, because it significantly reduces the risk of drowning and other water-related accidents. 

What is Non-Active Adult Supervision?

Non-active adult supervision, on the other hand, involves an adult being present near the pool, but not actively engaged in supervising swimmers. For instance, non-active supervision may look like someone standing near the pool, but they're engaged in conversation, using an electronic device, or not paying attention to swimmers who they assume have decent swimming abilities. Lack of proper supervision can result in devastating consequences, including drowning and serious water-related injuries. 

How to Properly Supervise Pool Days

It's important to remain vigilant while the pool is in use to avoid any mishaps. Follow these key strategies for effectively supervising pool activities.

Designate a Water Watcher

A designated pool supervisor plays a crucial role in actively monitoring pool activities, enforcing safety rules, and responding promptly to any emergencies that may arise. Inform everyone at or around the pool who this person is, so they know who to go to if help is needed. Rotating the role among capable adults ensures that supervision remains consistent throughout the pool day. Additionally, having a designated pool supervisor allows other adults to relax and enjoy themselves with the peace of mind that someone is actively overseeing the safety of everyone in the water.

Stay Within Arms Reach

A fundamental rule to follow is to always stay within arm's reach of those swimming, especially children or inexperienced swimmers. This close proximity allows for immediate assistance in case of any emergencies, minimizing risks and promoting a safer pool environment. Whether it's children splashing around or adults enjoying a leisurely swim, having a designated supervisor ensures someone is always present and ready to respond to any unforeseen situations.

Avoid Distractions

Distractions don't lead to effective pool supervision. Avoid lengthy conversations, checking your phone, and leaving the pool unattended for any amount of time. Maintaining focus on the pool and its occupants is crucial for quickly identifying potential dangers and acting promptly. By staying attentive and alert, supervisors can effectively mitigate risks and prevent accidents from occurring.

Round-the-Clock Pool Safety Measures

Pool supervision goes beyond active use; it extends to ensuring safety even when the pool is not in use. Installing equipment such as gate alarms, sturdy pool fences and gates, as well as safety pool covers, can prevent unauthorized access and reduce the risk of accidents. Let’s cover a few crucial pieces of pool equipment that will help improve pool safety. 

pool alarm

pool goggles

life preserver

Pool and Gate Alarms

Using a gate alarm for your pool is paramount for ensuring safety, especially when it comes to unsupervised pool access and preventing accidents involving children and pets. This device alerts homeowners whenever a child opens a gate leading to the pool area. This tool helps guardians promptly respond to the alarm and supervise whenever anyone attempts to access the pool area. There are also various pool alarms for both inground and above ground pools, which alert you to disturbances in the water in case anyone falls in or goes for an unsupervised swim. 

Pool Fencing/Gates

Enclosing your pool area with a sturdy fence or gate can effectively restrict access to the pool when it's not in use. Fences and self-latching, lockable gates minimize the risk of pool-related accidents for young children and animals. In most areas, having some type of fence or other barrier surrounding your pool is a legal requirement. Investing in this safety measure protects individuals and contributes to a safer pool environment. 

Safety Pool Cover

Pool covers aren’t just for protecting your pool water from exterior debris, they can also be used to lessen the chances of pool-related accidents. However, it's important to note that not all pool covers are created equal! Depending on the type of cover you purchase, its intended purpose may be different. Winter and solar covers have their own uses, but won't protect pets or humans if they try to enter the pool. A safety pool cover is what you’ll need to create a truly safe pool area. These types of pool covers are specifically designed to lock down a pool and keep people and animals out. Investing in a safety pool cover is a vital safety precaution that can save lives. 

Throughout swimming season, let's prioritize active adult supervision as the cornerstone of pool safety. By staying alert, informed, and proactive, we can create a safe and fun environment for everyone to enjoy the pool responsibly. Remember, when it comes to water safety, there's no substitute for vigilant supervision and proactive measures. To learn about other water safety tips, check out our blog for more information.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.