Floatation devices are a major component of pool safety.

5 things every pool owner should know

Is this the year you decide to take the “pool plunge”? If so, you’re in good company.

There are more than 10.4 million residential pools in the United States, according to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. Coming in varying shapes, sizes, and depth levels, swimming pools are a great way to cool off from the summer heat and participate in fun that the whole family can enjoy. What’s more, it’s an ideal form of exercise that’s highly recommended by health and fitness experts.

But, as with most forms of recreation, there are risks involved that are important to be aware of. The following are some things to keep in mind now that you’re a pool owner.

Many teens can’t swim

Generally speaking, children learn how to swim by the time they reach first grade, whether that’s done with a swimming training professional or by parents teaching their kids themselves. But you may be surprised at how many older kids have yet to learn basic swimming skills. According to a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, 61 percent of children overall and close to 50 percent of teens are unaware of basic swim safety skills. Before you let anyone around your pool, make sure that everyone knows how to swim.

Never swim alone

No matter how skilled you or your kids are at swimming, no one should swim on their own. Each year, there are approximately 5,400 pool- or spa-related hospital emergency department visits for swimming-related injuries, according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Having a lookout can help reduce the risk of an accident.

Most drowning victims are young children

Tragically, drownings happen every year. In 2010, there were 397 nationwide, and of these, 302 involved children younger than 5 years of age. Additionally, 75 percent occurred in residential pools.

One of the best ways to prevent these tragic events is by installing a fence around your pool. As noted by the Insurance Information Institute, fences should ideally be at least four feet high, with a locking gate that’s out of young children’s reach.

Learn how to perform CPR

An untold number of lives have been saved thanks to people who know CPR, which is short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. To be a lifeguard, you have to know CPR, but this is something that everyone should be familiar with. Check out American Red Cross’ website for locations near you where you can learn the basics. More than 9 million people use the Red Cross for CPR instruction every year.

Keep pool area clear of accident hazards

From water polo to water basketball, there are a host of games that make swimming the favorite form of recreation that it is. But in all of these cases, accidents can occur. If you’re hosting a pool party, you’re responsible for ensuring your guests’ safety. Make sure that there isn’t anything on the periphery of the pool that can lead to an accident, like glass bottles, toys, electronic devices, or other obstacles that can be tripping hazards.

Inform your insurer about the pool

You’ll surely be telling your friends and relatives about your new pool, but you should also get in touch with your home insurance provider as well. Because there’s an increased risk of injury with pools, this increases your liability, which may require you to update your policy. Your insurance company can walk you through any changes as well as provide you with additional information to keep your family and friends safe.

It promises to be another hot and humid summer. Stay cool all season long by making safety your top priority whenever you or your loved ones are poolside.