Summertime means no more school – until September – and long days playing outside and having fun in the pool. Whether you have your own swimming area or have a membership to a community pool, it’s important that everybody know the proper safety procedures, so that in the event of an emergency you are able to handle things with a calm head.

Pool safety need not hinder the family from having fun, either. When you play smart and think before you act, everybody can enjoy a day at the pool without problems. Here are a few tips for families to keep this summer:

  • Make sure everybody knows pool safety rules – at home and for public pools. If you are able to enroll in a first aid or pool safety course as a family, that’s even better! If not, make sure everybody knows what to do and when before the swimming pool is opened for the season.
  • Install quality, working safety equipment in your pool and surrounding areas. In many states, it is required by law to have some of these safety features attached. If you have a hot tub, for example, you must make sure the drains have the right protective gear attached so little hands and feet do not get caught. If there are weaker swimmers in the family, have flotation devices handy, and when your pool is not in use install a cover or fence to prevent smaller children or pets from accidentally falling into the water.
  • Make sure any safety equipment you buy has been tested and approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). You may be tempted to choose one flotation jacket over another because of price, but if the device doesn’t work when you need it to, you could pay a much higher cost in the end.
  • Have a telephone near the pool at all times in the event of serious emergency. Even a pay as you go cellphone close by is better than needing to run indoors if somebody is seriously injured.
  • If at a public pool or hosting a party, avoid horseplay in the water. While it’s great to see the kids having a great time, they should avoid games that increase the risk of injury. Pulling a child underwater by surprise or hitting somebody with a foam rubber “noodle” isn’t fun when the play turns rough.

The more everybody in the family is aware of pool safety, the more fun you’ll have this summer!