Pool Safety Checklist

Your backyard pool is open for the season and now is a great time to not only address maintenance issues, but to communicate safety rules so that your pool can be a safe and pleasurable experience for everyone this summer.

I've put together a checklist for you:

  • Check local ordinances and codes for safety requirements.
  • Use non-slip materials on the pool deck, diving board and ladders.
  • The steps of the pool ladder should be at least three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on both sides small enough for a child to hold on to with their little hands. There should be a ladder at both ends of the pool.
  • Electrical equipment should be installed by a licensed electrician in accordance with local safety codes.
  • Be sure your pool is deep enough before installing  a diving board or slide. Always put a slide in a deep area of the pool-- never in shallow water.
  • There should be a fence at least six feet high around all sides of the pool with a locked gate to keep children out when there is no supervision and the fence should be constructed so it is difficult to climb.
  • Lawn furniture, trees and shrubs should not be close enough to provide an easy boost over the fence.
  • Avoid using a side of the house in place of fencing to keep toddlers or pets from wandering into the pool area through an open door or window.
  • Mark water depths so they can be seen easily. Use a safety float line where the bottom slope deepens.
  • Check the pool and equipment periodically for cleanliness and good maintenance. Cover all sharp edges and protruding bolts; repair rickety or broken ladders and railings.
  • Replace non-slip materials when they wear out.
  • Teach children to float or swim at an early age.
  • Always provide competent adult supervision when the pool is in use. By competent I mean that that adult should be able to swim and they should be free from distractions.
  • For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach.
  • No one should ever swim alone.
  • Caution children against showing off and playing rough and explain the dangers of running and diving recklessly.
  • Never push others into the pool.
  • When using water slides, always go feet first.
  • Before diving or sliding, check to be sure that other swimmers are out of the way.
  • Make sure you have rescue devices and first aid supplies near the pool.
  • Teach children what to do in case of emergency. The installation of an alarm bell would be a good idea.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when not in use.
  • Keep electrical appliances such as radios out of the pool area because of the hazard of electrical shock.
  • Never swim after drinking alcoholic beverages, eating, or taking medications.

Above-ground pools:

  • Install sturdy guard rails around the pool deck.
  • Look for rolled rims on the metal shell to be sure the rims do not present a sharp cutting edge if someone falls.
  • The ladder to get to a surrounding deck should be sturdy and make sure there are no protruding bolts or other sharp edges.
  • The ladder should swing up to prevent unsupervised children from accessing the pool or should be easily removable for secure storage away from the pool area.