It’s been another long winter, but our favourite time of year is finally here. Ready for some fun in the sun? Like clockwork, as soon as the warm weather hits, Canadians of all ages flock outdoors with sunscreen and ice cream cones in hand, ready to take on the summer heat.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a pool, you certainly don’t have to worry about cooling off or enjoying some R&R – it’s all but guaranteed.

There is one thing pool owners do need to worry about, however: the risk of drowning. As a pool owner, it’s your responsibility to prevent such tragedies from happening. Here are a few tips for ensuring friends and loved ones will be able to enjoy your pool safely.

  1. Install a good fence around your pool. Fences and barriers are essential for restricting access to pools. Install a fence around the entire perimeter of your pool. Ideally, it should have a self-closing and self-locking gate. Also check your municipal by-laws regarding residential pool safety rules for your area.
  2. Avoid leaving anything near the pool or fence that can be climbed. Make sure there are no nearby objects that can be used to climb over the fence or into the pool. This includes toys, garden furniture, flower boxes, rocks, stairs or equipment.
  3. Be ready to intervene in the event of an emergency. Pool owners should know CPR and first aid techniques, which can help save lives. Keep rescue equipment such as buoys, life jackets or poles near the pool, along with a first aid kit. Stay alert at all times when people are in the pool, especially children. Swimmers should never be in the pool alone, regardless of their age or swimming ability. No one is immune to falls, muscle cramps or fainting.
  4. Apply anti-slip coating to poolside surfaces. Falls are the leading cause of injuries around pools. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, apply an anti-slip treatment to any surface that can potentially become slippery, such as the pool deck, ladders and diving boards.
  5. Get rid of any obsolete and broken objects around the pool. Never leave any damaged or broken equipment near the pool; it will only expose bathers to possible injury or infection.
  6. Tidy up after swimming. Remove all floating toys and objects from the pool once you’re done swimming. Otherwise, young children might be tempted to fish them out, putting themselves at risk in the process. Also store patio furniture away when you’re not at home. Children like to use them for climbing obstacles.
  7. Set clear safety rules. Be firm and always enforce the rules; the safety of swimmers is at stake. Prohibit all running and horseplay around the pool. Always designate a responsible adult to supervise children when they are playing in or around the pool.

In short, by keeping the following points in mind, you can ensure everyone’s safety and prevent potentially tragic accidents: properly arrange the space around the pool so that’s safe, always be on the alert, have clear safety rules and make sure you know what to do in an emergency. It’s not as much work as it seems, plus it will allow you and those you love to safely enjoy your pool all summer long with peace of mind.

Enjoy your swim!