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Swimming Protection Factor: The Other Important Poolside SPF

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For all you summer lovers out there, who doesn’t love the thought of owning a pool? Depending on who you are, it can be relaxing, refreshing or just plain FUN! If you’re thinking of installing a pool this summer, don’t forget to wear sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) and don’t ignore the other SPF—the Swimming Protection Factor.

General Pool Safety
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, there were 6,600 pool or spa-related injuries each year from 2014-2016, and 363 pool or spa-related drownings per year from 2014-2016 involving children under the age of 15. In addition, 74% of the reported drownings from 2014 through 2016 involved children younger than 5 years of age. To prevent a tragedy like these at your house, go over these rules of basic water safety with your family before anyone so much as dips a toe in the pool—and make sure they understand why it’s so important.  

  • Make sure everyone in the family knows how to swim, especially kids. If not, check with the local YMCA, Red Cross or your community pool if you have one to see if they offer lessons to teach proper breathing and swimming techniques.
  • Show your kids where the pool drains are and tell them why to avoid those areas. If clothing or hair get caught in the drain, it can be impossible for them to break free and they could drown
  • Learn how to perform CPR in adults and children. Pool accidents can happen quickly, and timing is of the essence to get help. Performing CPR as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Have a rule in place that kids should not swim alone. If someone gets a muscle cramp or caught in a drain, someone else can pull them to safety and call for help.

Poolside Safety Equipment
It's smart to have a few items near the pool to assist in case of an emergency, such as:

  • A  cell phone or cordless phone to call 911 and follow the 911 operator's instructions in case you can do anything to help save a swimmer's life until paramedics arrive
  • A life preserver ring or other flotation device
  • A life hook to pull someone out of the water
  • A first aid kit
  • Scissors to cut clothing or hair that may be trapping someone in a pool drain
  • A lockable cover for spas

Gates and Fences
Good neighbors don’t create neighborhood safety hazards. Install a fence around your pool that’s too high to climb and has a locking gate. This will keep neighborhood kids from getting in when nobody is there to ensure help safety or get help if needed. A fence can also keep your own toddler from getting in the water when you might not know it. A child can lose consciousness in less than two minutes underwater, and it may take you that long to realize the child isn't even in the house. You might even consider installing an alarm on the gate and getting a pool alarm that will alert you when the pool water has been disturbed.

Be Alert and Aware
One of the best safety tools is the watchful eye of an adult who knows how to swim. Watch kids when they are in the pool, particularly if they don't know where the pool drains are. Your guests or your children's guests may not know where the drains are or how dangerous they can be. In addition, accidents can happen when kids are just playing around in the pool, particularly if they are rough-housing or running alongside the pool, and adults can stop dangerous play.

Update Your Coverage
If you decide to install a pool, let your agent know to help you determine the proper coverage. While nobody wants anyone to get hurt in their pool, if you don't inform your agent that you have a pool, there's a chance that you wouldn't be covered if someone does get hurt and sues you. Your agent can help you select the appropriate coverage so your pool can be your backyard oasis instead of the scene of a tragedy.

 

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