POOL SAFETY TIPS
The pinnacle of pool life in the San Fernando Valley is basking in the sweet summer sun while enjoying a cool dip, but with a pool comes a big responsibility to keep you and your children safe. Did you know that over 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year? Here are a few tips from our friends at The American Red Cross and HealthyChildren.org to keep you and your family cool and safe! Pool safety is vital.
- Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
- Keep children under active supervision at all times. Stay in arm’s reach of young kids. Designate a responsible person to watch the water when people are in the pool—never allow anyone to swim alone. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to swim well by enrolling them in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses from the Red Cross.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Establish and enforce rules and safe behaviors, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers,” “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond to aquatic emergencies by having appropriate safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR courses from the Red Cross.
CREATE POOL RULES
While rules seem to be the antithesis of summer fun, pool rules are a must for anyone who has or will be utilizing a pool. Excellent pool safety is vital in keeping everyone safe….especially little ones and pets.
Here are some great rules to keep in mind. If you are posting your rules, you can be as formal or informal as you want with your signage. Beach themed yard? Make your sign look like a lifeguard station, or keep it short and sweet when posting your rules.
- Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
- Empty blow-up pools after each use.
- No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
- No electrical appliances near the pool.
- No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
- No running on the pool deck.
- No small pets in the pool area.
- Please use the restroom and not the pool.
We all know how quickly our little ones and animals can get past barriers and doors that are ajar. Sadly, this is one of the leading causes of pool fatalities in both children and pets. It is a good idea to have solid barriers between your little ones and your pool to ensure their safety. A good barrier along with a watchful eye will ensure your pool is safe all year round.
Pool fences should:
- Be climb-resistant and should not have anything alongside it (such as lawn furniture) that can be used to climb it.
- Be at least 4 feet high and have no footholds or handholds that could help a child climb it.
- Have no more than 4 inches between vertical slats. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. If they must be used, the diamond shape should not be bigger than 1¾ inches.
- Have a gate that is well maintained and is self-closing and self-latching. It should only open away from the pool. The latches should be higher than a child can reach – 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.
- For above-ground pools always keep children away from steps or ladders. When the pool is not in use, lock or remove the ladders to prevent access by children.
Here are some other alternatives:
- Automatic pool covers (motorized covers operated by a switch). Pool covers should cover the entire pool so that a child can’t slip under them. Make sure there is no standing water on top of the pool cover. Be aware that floating solar covers are not safety covers.
- Door alarms
- Doors to the house that are self-closing/self-latching
- Window guards
- Pool alarms
SWIMMING & DIVING LESSONS
Learning to swim is one of the best defenses against pool mishaps. The AAP supports swimming lessons for most kids 4 years and older and for children 1-4 years old who are ready to learn how to float and swim. Children vary in their readiness to learn to swim, so it is important to work with your kids in the pool with them to see where they are at and if they are ready to focus and learn this skill. A few factors such as frequency of exposure to water, emotional and physical maturity and health concerns related to swimming (such as: swallowing water, skin conditions, allergies to pool chemicals and physical limitations) are important to keep in mind.
Starting your children early with pool experience and swim lessons is good to get them acclimated, but can’t be completely relied upon to prevent drowning. This is just one of many tools parents must implement to ensure complete pool safety.
When it comes to diving, many programs will teach your child safe diving practices. Here are a few tips to keep your children safe when it comes to diving on in:
- Check how deep the water is. Enter the water feet first, especially when going in for the first time.
- Never dive into above-ground pools; they are usually not deep enough.
- Never dive into the shallow end of a pool.
- Never dive through inner tubes or other pool toys.
- Learn how to dive properly by taking classes.
LOCAL COMMUNITY POOLS
This Historical Hollywood mansion was building by William Randolph Hearst in the 1920’s. The opulent grounds and gorgeous architecture is the perfect backdrop for a great summer getaway. The Annenberg Foundation converted this gorgeous estate in 2009 into a beach house open to the public. Enjoy the rec room filled with classic games, a café, beach fun rentals and a gorgeous pool, the Annenberg Community Beach House is the place to be this summer!Santa Monica Swim Center
Even with the beach just a mile away, the Santa Monica public pool is a great place to beat the heat. This clean, cheerful and brightly tiled pool offers the beach air without the sand. The recreational pool is shallow-only, so wannabe divers will have to wait for open hours at the fitness pool to dive off the boards.
Culver City Plunge
Avoid the beach traffic at this Westside hidden gem. If you are in the mood for a little sun and splashing, this is the pool to go to.
Hansen Dam Aquatic Center
You probably wouldn’t expect to find a water oasis heading inland, but you will get just that at the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center. This pool has a large occupancy, has plenty of facilities including dual water slides and its very own sandy beach. This 9+ acre lake is the perfect summer experience!
LA84 Foundation/ John C. Argue Swim Stadium
Let your little ones feel like an Olympian at the John C. Argue Swim Stadium. This pool was built in 1932 for the LA Summer Olympics. Recreation hours are in the afternoon for kids with off hours for the die-hard lap swimmers. Kids can enjoy the fountain wading pool while parents can get their laps on.
Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
This open-air pool glistens in the golden SGV summer sun. With an on-site café and enough pool space for serious swimmers and kids looking for a splashingly-good time, this is a great summertime experience.
Verdugo Aquatic Center
Kids of all ages (and yes, that means you too grownups!) can enjoy this fun public pool. Featuring side-by-side water slides and the bonkers activity pool, this Burbank hot spot is a great way to keep cool this summer.
McCambridge Park Pool
This pool has been a community staple for years and years. After enjoying a cool dip, head over to the park for a great picnic or enjoy the open-air playground.
Head to the heart of Northridge to the park and enjoy a cool dip. This ADA accessible pool has a lift as well as universal changing rooms and showers. Located near some great eateries and housing a playground, Northridge Park is a great summer hang out.
Hollywood Recreation Center
In 2015, this city-run rec center was remodeled to give Angelenos a great summer experience, Hollywood-style!
Set against a midcentury-inspired locker room, this rec center has multiple diving boards, semi-shaded benches and a spiral water slide.
For reviews about the best public valley pools, click HERE!
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WATER PARKS
Sometimes the best solution to the beat the summer heat, is to pack up the Fam and take them on a road trip adventure. Here are a list of the best water parks SoCal has to offer!
LEGOLAND Water Park
LEGOLAND is on most SoCal Kid’s summer to-do list. You can take your pick of the park first then the water park or vice versa. Just remember to bring a change of clothes as swimsuits are not permitted in the theme park’s rides. With plenty of cool places for kids of all ages, LEGOLAND is a great family destination.
This oldie but goodie has been a Southern California Institution for decades! With plenty of pools for the young ones and radical rides and slides for those seeking some fast-paced fun, Raging waters is worth the drive out to San Dimas.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Rated one of the top parks in the state, this water park is the one to beat! Summer cool down is the mission as park goers can enjoy rides and slides of epic proportions. Whether your speed is fast or you prefer the slow and steady of cruising down a quiet stream, Hurricane Harbor has something for EVERYONE!
Soak City Orange County
Make a trip out to the golden OC to hit Soak City hard, Dude! With play areas for the little, squirt gun fight zones and tons of rides, Soak City is a great adventure with a big payoff at the end!
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.