Summertime means one thing to my children, FUN! They’ve gotten the idea that Summer means they can stay up all night long, do whatever they want, and I’d just be “cool” with it. For the most part, I want my children to have Summers they can remember, full of memories with family, cookouts, swimming, and relaxing, but I also want them to keep a sense of responsibility and safety.
My children can’t get enough of the pool at their Grandparent’s house and are constantly begging us to buy a Swing Set. Play sets, jungle gyms and pools offer up hours of fun in the sun, but can turn, potentially, dangerous if you don’t know what to look for. This summer, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading product safety testing organization, provides useful tips to help keep you and your children safe around play sets and the pool.
At a recent cookout, my whole family was swimming. My 3-year-old son grew tired, so him and I decided to take a break. As we enjoyed conversation with family members, I saw my father jump and run to the pool. My 3-year-old nephew was close to drowning. What puzzled me was the array of older children in the pool who hadn’t noticed. Needless to say, all of us adults, bring our “A Game” every time we jump in the pool. Underwriters Laboratories provides great pool safety tips we can learn from.
Pool Safety At Home:
- If you have a pool at home, install a fence. The fence should be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that has a locking mechanism beyond a child’s reach.
- Cut overhanging tree limbs and remove chairs or ladders from the pool area to prevent children from climbing over the fence that surrounds the pool.
- Keep grates and drain covers in good repair and secured in place. Alert your family and guests to stay away from these devices, as the suction from drain outlets can be strong enough to cause entrapment of hair or body parts, which can potentially cause a person to drown.
- Make sure you know infant and child CPR if you own a pool.
Be Safety Smart While Swimming:
- Supervision is a must. Follow the 10/20 rule when you’re at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to position themselves to be able to scan the pool every 10 seconds, and reach the water within 20 seconds.
- Always have rescue devices, such as UL-LISTED life preservers, nearby.
- Flotation devices, toys and inflatable swimming aids are not safety devices. They are toys and can easily puncture and deflate.
- Always drain wading pools after children are done playing. Infants can drown in just a few inches of water.
- Have a telephone nearby and appropriate emergency numbers posted.
- Remove all toys when you leave the pool. Toys may attract children to the unattended pool.
As I mentioned before, my children are BEGGING us to buy them a PlaySet, complete with swings, slide, and who knows what. It’s been difficult researching all of our options. There are so many options in size, color, material, etc. One thing for sure is, once we DO purchase one, we’ll have these playset safety tips in mind.
Before Installing a Backyard Play Set:
- Make sure your backyard is large enough for playground equipment. The site must also provide good visibility and security. Before setting up equipment, look out for obstacles, such as the garage, tree branches, utility poles and wires.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions when setting up play set equipment. Be sure your child’s weight and age fall within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for the equipment.
- Install protective surfacing, such as rubber tiles or mulch under the play set, at least six feed in all directions, to prevent serious injuries should a child fall.
Before Heading Out to Play:
- Carefully inspect backyard playground equipment. Make sure equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed and bolts are not protruding.
- Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs. These spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- Always supervise children on play set equipment to make sure they are playing safely.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes or cords of any kind to play set equipment. If used improperly, they can be potential strangulation hazards.
- Watch for potential trip hazards, such as rocks, tree stumps and concrete footings. Make sure you’re children are aware of them as well.
- Do a sandbox check. Before letting your child dig in, rake through the sand to check for debris or sharp objects. Also, inspect for any animal contamination or insect problems.
Share Safety With Your Children:
To further educate families on summer safety, Disney and UL produced a great pool safety video with Timon and Pumba! Check it out HERE.
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