As the weather warms, thoughts of weekends spent outside in the sun tend to distract us from school and work. After a particularly dreary winter, it makes sense that we are eager to shed the coats and grab the sunscreen. For homeowners preparing to open their pools and invite friends and family over for backyard barbecues and marathon splashing, it is important to recall and remind guests of good pool manners and safety tips so that everybody has a good time, and injuries are non-existent.

Especially for younger swimmers, the following should be observed:

1) Check to see that all pool equipment and safety kits are intact, updated, and working properly. If you are coming off a hard winter very likely you haven’t done anything with your pool gear, and in case of an emergency you don’t want to be left with defective tools. Before anybody sets foot in the water, get your swim area in top shape – water, pumps, filters, and drains.

2) Make sure smaller children are always supervised while swimming. Even though your children may have done well with their swimming lessons, there is always the risk of danger if small ones are left unattended. Even the strongest of swimmers have been known to get into trouble in the water, and leaving your child to the pool with water wings or a kick board is still not enough to ensure one hundred percent security. If no adults are able to sit outside, the kids should not be in the pool.

3) Establish the rules and stick to them. If you know a group of people are coming to play, they must be respectful of each other so that everybody has fun. Nobody should run around the pool area or dive headfirst if your pool is shallow. Older kids definitely should not roughhouse with the younger ones – no pulling a child underwater or splashing. Even a playful bout of “war” with the foam noodles has the potential for injury if somebody isn’t paying attention. Where toys and floats are concerned, children should share usage of them so everybody has a turn.

4) With younger swimmers, establish times to swim and to come outside to rest and eat. Make sure everybody has sunscreen – it is possible to burn if you’re in the water and not properly protected.

The better prepared you are before pool season starts, the better you and your guests will enjoy your weekends.