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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Stay cool – and safe – in the pool

STILLWATER, Okla. – Few activities are more refreshing on a hot day than taking a dip in the swimming pool. As the summer heat peaks and begins to wind down, whether the family is splashing around in the backyard or enjoying the amenities at the local community center, safety should always be a top priority.

“The reality is many accidents that occur in swimming pools are preventable as long as some precautions are observed,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

One of the easiest and most important ways to make sure everyone has a safe experience at the pool is to constantly watch children while they are in and around the water.

“Never leave a child unattended in or near water. Even if there is a lifeguard present, at least one adult who knows how to swim should be in the pool when children are in the water,” Peek said. “Adults should know CPR for both children and adults as well as understand basic life-saving techniques in case of an emergency.”

Parents and caregivers also should make sure children know how to swim, understand basic water safety and know what to do in case of an emergency.

Children also should be taught to stay away from drains, which can trap a child’s limbs, swimsuit or hair. All drain covers in any pool, residential or community, should be compliant.

At home, families can enclose their pools with a fence at least 4 feet high. The fence should be unclimbable and have a self-latching gate. Installing pool and gate alarms is a simple safety step.

Larger pools should be covered and the ladder removed when not in use, while smaller pools can be emptied and stored after every use.

“Be sure to let friends, family and neighbors know if you have a pool,” Peek said. “If a child goes missing, pools and spas should be checked as soon as possible.”

Home pools also should be equipped with an easily accessible safety kit that should include a first aid kit; scissors to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover; and a flotation device.

A charged phone should be nearby to alert authorities for help.

When using a community or commercial pool, families should become familiar with the locations of the nearest phones and life-saving equipment such as life rings and reaching poles.


Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078