Pool safety advice
• All gates should be self-closing and self-latching. They should never be propped open. Latches should be out of reach of children. Consider a lock and an alarm.
• A weather-resistant alarm on the gate should sound both at the pool and in the home. (85 decibels for a distance of 10 feet)
Doors & windows
• All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool should be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
• Doors or windows that open to the pool area should have an alarm to sound when they are opened.
• Surface alarms: Floating alarms that detect motion on the water's surface. It can sound both at the pool and in the home when the surface of water is breached. While very low cost, typically under $200, most models have a high false-alarm rate due to wind and rain and should never be relied on alone.
• Subsurface alarm: Newer technology is designed to sound an alarm immediately when a child enters the pool. Look for a pool alarm that is professionally installed, detects immediately, doesn't create false alarms and can reset after swimming.
• Personal alarms: Devices worn on the body that set off an alarm when wet. Not great for everyday use, but can be a good layer of protection to be worn by children who are visiting a home with a pool or spa, or while traveling.
• Enforce the same safety rules you use at home.
• Know about any hazards such as marine life, parasites, currents, drop-offs, very cold water or submerged objects. Enter all unfamiliar water feet first.
• Make sure your child knows how to escape a rip current: stay calm and don't fight it. A rip current will pull you away from the shore, but it will not pull you under water. To escape, swim parallel to the shore, until you are out of the current. Then swim at an angle away from the current toward the shore.
• When boating, wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket.
• If the water is shared by boats, be visible. Have your child wear a bright colored swim cap, stay close to shore and watch for boats.
• Everyone should learn to swim, but never consider a child "drown-proof'' because of lessons.
• In choosing a program, make sure the instructor is trained in swim instruction and child development, and certified in CPR. Observe classes before enrollment and monitor lessons for safety skills, the effectiveness of the instructor, the child's reception to learning and progress.
• Learn CPR.
• Keep a life-saving ring and shepherd's hook at poolside. CPR instructions should be posted poolside. Know how to use the equipment and perform CPR.
• You are the best defense.
• If infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be in arm's length at all times.
• Designate a "Water Watcher" who keeps his eyes on the pool at all times, without engaging in any distracting activity. Designate a fresh Water Watcher every 15 minutes. Make sure the watcher is a sober adult who knows CPR and has swimming skills.
• Keep a phone near the pool.
• Remove toys when you leave the pool to reduce temptation.
• Never rely on water wings or other air-filled toys as safety devices.
• Be aware if the home you're in has a pool. Know where all the children are at all times. If one is missing, check the pool first.
Source: National Drowning Prevention Alliance