Make pool safety a priority this summer

Michèle Mercier, Director of Prevention and Safety, The Canadian Red Cross

As soon as the weather warms up, Canadians take every opportunity to enjoy being in or around the water. Here are simple steps you can follow to keep your pool safe.

Fence it: Build a four-sided fence that has a self-closing and self-latching gate; always keep the gate closed with restricted access. Refer to your municipal bylaws for fencing requirements.

Cover it: Install a cover with a lock on your hot tub and/or small backyard pool.

Empty it: Small on-ground portable or kiddie pools should be emptied when not in use. Above-ground pools should have the ladder or steps removed when not in use.

Enforce it: Establish pool rules. These can include: swim with a buddy, no glass containers around the pool, no diving.  Few backyard pools are safe for diving – swimmers should always enter the water feet-first. 

Have an Action Plan: Establish emergency procedures including adult supervision, an emergency signal, readily accessible safety equipment such as reaching or throwing assists, a working phone and first aid kit.

Do not use alcohol or drugs in or around the pool: They do not mix with safe swimming.

Tread carefully: Exercise caution on slippery pool decks, walk carefully, and ensure that decks are free of tripping hazards.

This summer, a safe pool will be a fun pool. Make water safety mandatory in all your backyard adventures: ensure people know how to swim (and arrange for lessons if not), be sure to secure all facilities properly, and always keep a very close eye on children.