Safer, Smarter Backyard Pool Tips

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dog swimming in pool

(image: tj-wood)

Pools are fun in the summertime. They also need regular maintenance, as well as checks for pool safety. Here’s an overview for your pool as the season begins.


Your idea of the perfect day involves swimming laps in your backyard pool, lounging next to the cerulean water with a good book, or splashing through the shallow end with the kids. A pool offers endless fitness and entertainment benefits, but it also requires security and regular maintenance, especially if your household includes children or pets.

Install a perimeter fence

Just as the privacy fence around your backyard keeps stray dogs and intruders off your property, a pool fence prevents youngsters and four-legged family members from encountering the water without supervision. It also limits your liability as a homeowner and satisfies your insurance provider.

The Consumer Protection Safety Council recommends installing pool barriers at least 48 inches above grade. Avoid fences with horizontal rails so children cannot climb it and position it away from nearby structures, such as trees or tool sheds. The best gates feature a self-closing design and can be locked when they aren’t in use.

Call in the professionals

When you open the pool in the summer, hire a professional to treat and test the water. Inappropriate levels of chemicals can cause burns and other problems, so it’s worth the expense for peace of mind. Pool companies can also send out professionals at regular intervals throughout the summer to maintain the pool for maximum safety and convenience.

Educate the family and yourself about pool safety

Anyone who doesn’t know how to swim should receive lessons in swimming strokes, paddling, and other skills. Some teachers visit their clients’ homes, while others give lessons at public or private pools. Adults and older children should also receive First Aid and CPR training through a certified instructor.

kids jumping into a swimming pool

If you want your pets to enjoy the pool, work with them first. Encourage the family pet to enter the water only when he or she is ready, then stay nearby in case help is needed.

Assemble safety gear

Never use a pool without a cell phone or portable landline phone nearby. Whether you’re watching the kids play endless rounds of Marco Polo or swimming laps in preparation for an Iron Man competition, you’ll need access to a host of other safety gear such as:

  • Water or other beverages to keep pool users hydrated
  • First Aid kit filled with bandages, gauze, and other materials
  • Safety rings or buoys in case of emergency

Arm your pool with an alarm for extra security. A pool alarm sounds an alert whenever a person or pet ventures close to the water’s edge, allowing parents and other adults to respond immediately. Just like a home’s security alarm, it monitors the pool’s edge.

A backyard pool provides a peaceful, relaxing respite from the rest of the world. As long as homeowners take safety precautions and maintain their pools, kids and adults can enjoy the water without worry.


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.