In the know: Talking to customers about National Water Safety Month

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Photo: PexelsPhoto: Pexels

With the dog days of summer fast approaching, your customers are bound to be aching to spend countless hours in the cool embrace of their pools, but with these fun summer pastimes comes an element of danger.

When dealing with pools, it’s important that your customers understand the safety precautions that must be upheld before every venturing out into the water. With the month of May being National Water Safety Month, the time is ideal to talk to customers about the subject.

Whether you’re installing the pool from scratch or coming into a project with a pool already in place, being able to sit down with your customers and explain pool safety is imperative for every job.

Regardless of whether you talk to customers at the time of the install, after you’ve completed the project or you hold an educational seminar at the start of the summer, making customers aware of pool safety protocol could help customers enjoy their pools all summer long, as well as potentially save lives.

Take a look at a few safety tips you can share with your customers before, during or after you’ve completed a pool installation project.

Child and safety barriers

A strong first step in preparing to talk with customers about pool safety is to take stock of which customers have children who will be using the pool.

Research performed by Ellyn Pollack with Pool Safety, a public education campaign run by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), shows that nearly 400 children under the age of 15 drown in pools and spas every year. Of those, Pollack’s research shows that 300 are under the age of five, and 87 percent of those fatalities occurred at residential pools or spas.

Pollack says it doesn’t just come down to teaching children to swim, either. Other factors to keep in mind are the possibility of getting caught in a pool drain, electrocutions and other injuries from slips and falls.

The CPSC recommends implementing multiple layers of protection in the form of CPR training, swimming lessons, pool alarms, regular inspections, safety barriers, adult supervision and more.

Pollack recommends having one person as the designated pool watcher when children are in the pool, and this person should not be distracted with reading, texting or socializing. Pollack notes that when it comes to children drowning, it’s not like it happens in the movies.

“There’s no splashing and calling for help,” Pollack tells Houzz. “Kids go down quickly and silently.”

It is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children over the age of four be enrolled in swimming lessons, but the association notes that children as young as one year old can safely begin taking lessons as well.

In many cases, children as young as seven months can begin learning to float and swim in infant and toddler aquatic programs. These classes allow parents and siblings to bond with younger children while teaching them an important life skill. However, be sure to stress to customers that just because a child knows how to swim doesn’t mean adults can be absent from the pool. There should still always be adult supervision when children are present in a pool or spa.

The American Red Cross and CPR Certification & Training Online both stress the importance of being CPR certified, and this is a good note to stress if you already know your customers will be spending a lot of time in the pool this summer. To learn more about the CPR certification process, click here.

Whether your customers have children and pets or not, having barriers and fences around a pool is a smart idea, and many jurisdictions require such a barrier. Experts recommend the fence or barrier be at least 4 feet high, see-through, non-climbable and have a door that is self-closing or self-latching and should swing away from the pool to keep children from being able to push it open.

Other alternatives to putting up a barrier or fence are to add mesh covers or safety nets over the top of the pool or have an automatic pool cover installed.

Alarms and drain covers

Making sure there are alarms on any and all doors that lead to the pool area can help your customers keep tabs on who is coming and going from the area, and Pollack notes that it is important to make sure the sound the alarm makes is different enough from all other alarms so customers won’t get confused about which alarm is which.

If you want to take this alarm safety one step further, talk to your customers about having a pool alarm installed, as these will be able to detect wave movement and your customers will always be alerted to who or what is in the pool.

Many pool-related fatalities deal with pool drains and electrocution, so keeping an eye on the pool’s drain and making sure it is up-to-date and functioning properly is imperative.

If you find yourself in the position of either installing a pool or inspecting one that’s already been put in, be sure to check and make sure the drains are anti-entrapment types that are compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act (VGB).

“Suction from drains can be strong enough to hold an adult underwater,” Pollack tells Houzz. “So, it’s a nominal investment that can save a life.”

Performing a regular inspection of the pool, drains and covers is wise to ensure they aren’t damaged or missing. Also, recommend to customers that they talk to children about not swimming or playing near the pool drains, even if they are covered.

It’s recommended to perform pool inspections at least once a year to ensure everything is running smoothly and the lights aren’t posing any danger of electrical shock.

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