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Our 5 Step Guide to Backyard Pool Safety – Bet You Didn’t Know It Was So Easy
Come summertime, Aussies love the Great Outdoors! A backyard pool means endless hours of family time and active fun. But sometimes things can go wrong. Despite the number of accidental infant and adolescent deaths declining, in 2013 23 children drowned in a backyard pool.
Safety around the pool is so important to ensure a safe, secure and family-friendly backyard environment. Australian Outdoor Living only wants the very best for Australian families, so we have put together a five-step guide to ensuring you and your family are safe poolside.
Most families have a set of household rules. These rules govern the dinner table and hot water supply, and keep the peace when it comes to who controls the remote for the TV. Likewise, if you have a backyard pool, it’s time to lay down the law! At Australian Outdoor Living we suggest implementing the following rules to prevent poolside accidents or injuries.
Movies are rated PG for a reason. Parental guidance is recommended when a child under 13 years is watching them. The backyard pool should be no different. Think of it as a PG space. If there is no parent present, no child is allowed inside the gate.
It really is as simple as it sounds. The watchful eye of a parent is your safeguard against a potentially deadly and easily avoidable accident. As mentioned, make parental supervision a pool rule. If you teach your kids this way, they will be the ones asking you when it comes time to play.
Step 3. Know Your First Aid
We see it in the movies. It’s particularly popular on soap operas. Our much-loved characters, with their dashing looks and calm demeanour, make saving lives look easy with basic first aid. But as much as we hate to say it, in real life, this just isn’t the case.
We have all heard of the ‘fight or flight’ mentality. And if you were to see your child in dire distress, it would be only natural to find yourself in a state of ‘flight’; stressed, confused and with a foggy head. But knowing the basic skills or even having a preliminary certificate in First Aid will help you keep your cool in an emergency. A great idea for any big brother, sister or parent, you can complete a basic certificate in First Aid at your local leisure centre or community house.
Step 4. Design a Safe Space
It is all well and good to have your very own backyard blue lagoon, but safety first must be the name of the game. There are a myriad design elements that make for a safe, accident-proof swimming environment.
A sturdy and secure fence should surround your backyard pool. Any parent would know that little tackers are the most curious people of all. And it is all too easy for an adventurous child to disappear from your sight. A fence that stands (at least) 1.5 metres in height and is equipped with a childproof gate is your assurance against wondering feet or any unplanned dips.
Is it easy to tell which end of your pool is deep, and which end is shallow?
We all know that disconcerting feeling as our feet reach for a safe, secure pool floor only to swipe at nothing. Making sure it’s clear which end of your pool is deep and which is shallow will prevent injury and unwanted anxiety. You can do this with a simple sign posted on the pool fence or gate. Alternatively, you could spray paint a sign onto the pool surrounds, or make it clear with a unique arrangement of pool tiling.
Slip resistant surfaces
Water and tiles make an ideal environment for slipping. Add excitable infant and adolescent feet into the mix, and you’ve got yourself an accident-prone equation. There a range of slip resistant materials and surface coverings that you can check out and pick up at your local hardware store. Cost effective and easy to install, slip resistant surfaces make for a family-friendly backyard space.
Granted, many adults are well informed of their Dr ABC. But in the moment of emergency even the sharpest among us can fail to think straight. Avoid a potentially deadly mental blank by placing an easy-to read resuscitation chart on the pool fence.
Step 5. Teach Your Kids to Swim
At school they teach us how to read and write. But only some schools teach kids how to swim in a pool. For Aussie kids especially, learning how to swim is a rite of passage. From such a young age, Australians are thrown in the deep end (quite literally) and it is so important that your kids feel competent when the water rises above their head.
Regardless of whether your kid’s school provides swimming lessons as a part of the physical education curriculum, we recommend that your children are enrolled in an AustSwim approved swimming program.
AustSwim is the nationwide industry accreditation for swimming instructors and water safety teachers. Working closely with aquatic centres, AustSwim have over 32,000 accredited teachers in Australia. To find out more about the AustSwim swimming program and your closest teaching centre, click on the link above.
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There you have it, the Australian Outdoor Living 5-Step guide to a safe, secure and accident-free backyard pool. Check out our other handy pool resources below: