Babysitter Pool Safety

7 Steps for Peace of Mind About Your Pool on Date Night

By Sarah Lipps

It’s 7 p.m. on Friday night. You and the hubby have big plans, like, going for pizza and catching the latest flick at the Cineplex big.

Date Night for Parents

Ok, they’re not earth-shattering plans. But hey, when you’ve got little ones, any opportunity to spend a few hours focusing on each other is precious—which is why you want to spend that time relaxing and laughing… and not worrying about the safety of your children.

However, as a parent of a toddler and a pool owner, it can be hard not to add up the dangers in your head. One curious little boy + one 18-year old sitter + backyard pool = an uneasy couple of hours.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to eliminate the potential for disaster and help you feel more confident in Tina, your bright and fun sitter. We’ve put together the following preparation and safety tips to give you peace of mind, so you can sit back, enjoy your dinner and have a few hours of grown up fun.

If you have any of your own pool safety/babysitter tips we missed, please share below.

1. Show your babysitter your exterior doors and windows and explain why they should be kept locked

Keep Doors to Pool Locked

Locking doors and windows may seem obvious, but practice is a good thing for first time babysitters or even a veteran like Tina. Have your sitter, (we’ll keep using Tina for the sake of illustration) lock the doors and windows so she is familiar with how to use the locks. Especially, make sure the doors that lead directly to the swimming pool are secured. Also, make Tina aware of all the potential ways to get out to the swimming pool from inside of the house. Little ones have been known to crawl through pet doors and other small openings. Don’t take anything for granted.

2. Toys should be removed from in or around the swimming pool area

Remove Pool Toys

Teaching your children to keep toys picked up by the pool isn’t just more good life skill coaching from mom. Brightly colored balls, swimming floats and other toys left near the water may draw the attention of toddlers, who may attempt to leave the safety of your home and the adult supervision of you or a sitter in order to retrieve the object. Keep toys locked up and stowed so they cannot be spotted from the back door or windows. We also recommend removing all toys from within a pool fence area to keep children attention away from the pool.

Spoiler Alert: This is one of the four hidden items from our post, “Can You Find the 4 Things Wrong with This Picture?

3. Keep your pool and patio area well lit

Pool Safety Lights

On the chance your child should leave your home unnoticed and enter your pool area, you want to make sure the area is well lit and visible from the house. You don’t want your child or anyone else to enter the deck unnoticed. Unfortunately, many poolside tragedies happen each year with little noise or warning. A few strategically placed exterior lights around your patio and pool will illuminate the zone and make sure you and other adults in your home, like Tina, have a clear line of sight to the area. This effort also helps to prevent any unwanted visitors to your pool and backyard, such as neighborhood kids or even burglars.

4. A Mesh Pool Fence should be installed

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the best way to keep your children or anyone else out of the pool without your permission is to lock them out. A mesh pool fence provides a climb resistant barrier that can be used to completely close off access to the swimming pool. While adult supervision can never be replaced by a pool fence, it serves as an almost finite last line of protection. This is a proven method that significantly drops the likelihood of a drowning accident.1 When choosing a mesh pool fence, you’ll want to make sure it has strong fiberglass posts that lock into the patio and fence sections that require two hands to unlatch. If your fence includes a self-closing gate, make sure the latch is safely engaged. For additional safety, use the gate’s keylock.

5. Remove climbable objects near your pool fence

Prevent Pool Fence Climbing

As you know, a young child can be very creative when it comes to getting something they want. This goes for grabbing your smartphone off the counter or a beach ball by the pool. Make sure patio chairs, coolers, planters, etc, aren’t positioned to become climbing ladders for your child. A quick sweep of the patio area is enough to ensure all items that could be used to climb over the pool fence are safely put out of reach of any children.

6. Get a sitter who swims

Babysitter Swim Lessons

You might assume your babysitter already knows how to swim, but did you know studies show that 50% of teenagers in the US do not know how?2 While swim tryouts may not be necessary, make sure and ask your babysitter about her swimming abilities before she is hired. Your local YMCA likely provides swimming classes for all ages in case Tina would like to brush up on her skills, or even learn some new rescue swimming techniques. Our hope and yours is that those skills are never used, but you have to be sure that if something happens, someone is standing by who can handle the situation. To learn more about the importance of swimming lessons and other pool safety tips, check out our infographic, “The ABC’S of Swimming Pool Safety.”

7. Make sure your sitter knows CPR

Babysitter CPR Pool Safety

Tragically, most of us simply don’t have the skills it takes to perform this lifesaving act. In fact, 70% of Americans, admit they would feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency or when someone stops breathing.3 While prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to drowning, we highly recommend CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) for sitters. If necessary, it can save a child, or anyone’s life. Ensuring your babysitter has this skill is a great step toward giving you peace of mind. Learn more about getting Tina certified by contacting your local Red Cross.

Hope you find this helpful, and with all your worries satisfied, you can enjoy a few hours away. Precautions taken? Check. Movie tickets ordered? Got it. Sitter scheduled? Looks like Tina’s on her way. Enjoy your evening! And if you would like more information about how a pool fence can prevent a tragedy, take a look at our pool fence page. Or, contact your local Protect-A-Child dealer.

+Here’s a few more tips for sitter safety with or without a pool

  • Have a list of all needed emergency numbers in a clearly visible area
  • Make a test phone call and make sure everyone’s phones are working
  • Have a list of food or any other allergies your children might have
  • Keeping your child’s mind occupied by having planned activities inside the house like board game, crafts, movies and books to read.

If you have any of your own pool safety/babysitter tips we missed, please share below.

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