Here are some tips on how to keep safe at your home pool as well as at the public pool. First, install a fence enclosure that isolates your swimming pool and spa from the home, play areas, front and side yards and the neighbor's yard.

Here are some tips on how to keep safe at your home pool as well as at the public pool.


Isolation and barriers


First, you need to isolate the pool. Here’s how:


1. Install a fence enclosure that isolates your swimming pool and spa from the home, play areas, front and side yards and the neighbor's yard.


2. Make sure all gates in the isolation fence are self-closing and self-latching.


3. Install any perimeter yard fence that provides a self-closing and self-latching gate.


4. Install multiple layers of barriers isolating the pool and spa from children.


5. Keep all doors and windows leading to the swimming pool and spa area locked.


7. All chairs, tables, large toys or other objects that would allow a child to climb up to reach the gate latch or enable the child to climb over the isolation fence should be removed or kept inside the fenced area.


8. Remove and store all water toys or other toys away from the pool or spa area as not to entice a young child towards danger.


Alarm systems and extras


In addition to isolation barriers, one or more of the following safety features can provide the additional protection necessary to keep kids from drowning:


1. Approved swimming pool and spa safety cover.


2. Approved swimming pool alarm and spa alarm.


3. Exit alarms on doors that access the swimming pool and spa.


5. Doors and gates (that provide access to the swimming pool and spa) with self-closing and self-latching mechanisms and a release mechanism that is high enough to be out of reach for children.


6. The main door from the garage should be self-closing and self-latching with a release mechanism high enough to be out of the reach of a child.


Rescue and response


1. Have reaching equipment on hand, like a pole.


2. Have throwing or in-water buffer equipment on hand like a tube or a ring.


3. Have a whistle or horn on hand to call for people in emergencies.


4. Have a working and accessible phone on hand.


5. Have contact numbers and location information on hand to tell the dispatcher after dialing 911. Write down the home address, phone number and the nearest cross streets. Then explain the condition of the victim, and don't hang up before the dispatcher.


Basic public pool safety


As a patron at a public water setting, here are some safety rules to obey:




Understand the layout of the pool.

Familiarize yourself with the pool rules.

Shower before entering the water.  

Always walk and never run around the pool.

Bring plastic containers only in the pool area.

Feet first entry in areas less than 9 feet deep.

Only dive in designated area.

Follow instructions from lifeguards without question: act first, ask later.

Check the pool water and area for cleanliness. Water is clear, and a 6-inch disk would be visible in the deepest end of the pool.

Make sure the pool does not have an overwhelming smell of bleach or ammonia and that your eyes do not sting in the air.

Linda Pfeiffer is the aquatic director at the Springfield, Ill., YMCA.