Especially in these hot summer months, a good swimming pool outing with the family is almost a necessity.

But in all the excitement that comes with a fun and refreshing swimming trip we often forget about the dangers that accompany these types of outings, even (and especially) if the pool is just in our own backyard.

The Miller Family Tragedy

Recently, Bode Miller, an Olympic ski legend with 6 medals, had to face a terrible tragedy at the end of what most likely began as a carefree pool party.

Miller and his wife were enjoying a lovely time at their neighbor’s backyard pool in Orange County, California when their daughter, 19 month old Emaline, somehow ended up in the water and drowned.

Although first responders arrived at the scene and administered CPR, the Miller’s beautiful daughter had to be transported to the hospital where she later passed away.

This tragedy, occurring just four months after Miller and his wife announced that they are expecting a third child in October, was a rude awakening to the importance of taking extra precautions around swimming pools.

Safety In The Family Swimming Pool

While every tragedy can’t be avoided, there are certain preventative steps that every pool owner, parent, and family member can take to reduce the risk of accidents whether at a public or family pool.

1. Barriers And Alarms

Especially if you are considering or already own a family pool, it’s important to ensure that the proper barriers and alarms are installed.

The pool should be surrounded with a 4 foot fence to prevent children from entering the area on their own. Pool covers and alarms are other ways to regulate pool use. If your pool is above ground, always remove steps and ladders whenever the pool is not in use.

2. Adult Supervision

Always watch children when they are in or near the water. The best way to provide full supervision is to designate one adult to watch the children at all times.

If you are the one designated to supervise, remove all distractions such as your phone or a book so as to completely focus on keeping kids safe. Even in public pools where lifeguards are present it’s important that caregivers take the responsibility of supervising children to ensure better safety.

3. Drain Safety

Make sure that the pool drains have safe grates or covers to avoid incidents. Teach your children to never play or swim near drains as hair, limbs, and bathing suits can get stuck inside. Powerful drain suction can trap even an adult if not properly covered.

4. Teach Children To Swim

Along with being a fun activity, swimming is also a life-saving skill. Enrolling children in swimming lessons is a great way to be sure that your child is swimming safely. Babies as young as six months old can be enrolled in swim lessons!

Keep in mind that adult supervision is still highly recommended for children who know how to swim as swim lessons don’t provide “drown-proofing” or emergency procedures. Also make sure that small children learning to swim wear a life-jacket or inflatable water wings  for further safety.

5. Establish Pool Rules

Take the time to establish certain pool rules both for at-home and public pools. Some essential rules include:

  • No diving
  • Stay away from drain covers
  • Do not swim without adult supervision
  • No running
  • Swim with a buddy

Review the rules with your children before every swim, and see that all rules are enforced.

6. Know Emergency Procedures

Bystanders are often the first to aid a drowning victim, so learning CPR and other first aid and emergency procedures could save a life.

Make sure that everyone at home knows how to respond to possible pool emergencies. CPR, first aid, and water safety classes are available through many community centers, hospitals, and the American Red Cross.

A Safe Pool Is A Fun Pool

If you have a family pool or are taking a trip to the public pool soon, consider reviewing these safety precautions. Taking responsibility around pools is the best way to make sure that the experience is a fun one for you and the entire family!