LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s the middle of May and Memorial Day is right around the corner. Many people will be opening their swimming pools and need to keep in mind the safety surrounding the water.
WLNS spoke with pool safety experts on what pool owners can do at their homes to ensure their kids stay safe before taking a dive into the swimming pool.
Swimming is a fun and popular activity that everyone loves to do in the summertime especially at the home of pool owners.
“We have a lot of activity in the summer,” said Chuck Nobis, pool owner.
For approximately 12 years, Nobis has run his backyard pool.
“It makes for a very enjoyable time,” he happily mentioned.
With two grandkids under the age of five, maintaining their safety consistently remains his number one goal.
“The children are never left unattended and not even for a minute…you can’t take that chance,” says Nobis.
“Your eyes should be on your children even if they know how to swim because anything can happen,” Westside Community YMCA Aquatics Director Theresa Sheridan stated.
Unfortunately, children ages one through four, drown in swimming pools most frequently.
“Recent studies say that especially adolescent males are very poor at judging their swimming ability,” said Great Lakes Surf & Rescue Project Executive Director Bob Pratt.
But it’s not because of the reason you would think.
“Males overestimate their ability, not just in swimming but in most things,” Pratt mentioned.
Often times in pools especially when crowded, drowning is almost disguised and often not seen.
“Once a victim goes underwater, in many cases they’re invisible,” said Pratt.
That’s why, according to AmeriCorps Member Chris Wolf at the American Red Cross, designating someone to watch swimmers is crucial.
“It’s all about having people prepared for emergencies and making sure that they’re prepared for the dangers inherent to different areas such as a pool or any body of water,” Wolf stated.
Sheridan teaches swim lessons to sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students at Stem Academy.
“We’re trying to teach the non-swimmers and the swimmers to be safer by teaching them those real basic skills,” she mentioned.
Basic skills such as…
“Floating, treading water and how to handle jumping in and swimming back to the side.”
Sheridan always keeps one or even two lifeguards on deck at all times.
“If you’re a child you never ever swim without adults around you,” she stated.
Even for Nobis. He mentions that at his home adult supervision is a must.
“I’m really big on not letting kids be unattended,” Nobis said.
And besides designating a person to keep an eye on swimmers, always locking gates or fences when unattended is also very important.
“The fencing, the locks on the gates…you just have to be vigilant,” Nobis mentioned.
Even Pratt chimed in stating:
“The more layers of protection that we can put around the child, the safer that they’ll be.”
Whether you set up a fence surrounding your pool, or just simply never lose sight of those swimming in the water…these are all things to keep in mind to stay safe before taking a dip into your swimming pool this summer.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a barrier such as a four-sided fence surrounding a pool reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83 percent in comparison to a three-sided fence.
This is just one recommendation to maintain the safety around your pool.