Pool Safety: Add These Layers of Protection to Your Residential Pool

Pool Safety: Add These Layers of Protection to Your Residential Pool  | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasWhat’s Your Safety System?

For residential pool owners, having a safety system in place can protect the wellbeing of your family, neighbors, and friends when in and around water. The greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and establishing the right set of water safety measures since you never know what step will save a life.

CPSC’s Pool Safely site has many helpful water safety resources and materials such as brochures, videos, tip sheets for parents and guardians to review. I highly recommend that pool owners apply multiple safety measures found in these resources to safeguard children and prevent drowning accidents, starting with:

Adult Supervision

It is very important that an adult be present at all times when a child is in and around water. A good idea is to have the “Water Watcher” wear a whistle or tag to remind themselves that they are responsible for the safety of kids in the water. Parents and guardians can also enforce some household pool rules and remind children to never swim alone or without an adult present. Some great examples of other pool rules include:

  • No bottles or glass around the pool
  • No running or pushing
  • No diving unless the pool meets the safety standards
  • Stay away from pool drains


An outdoor swimming pool barrier is a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa area. This restricts small children from accessing the area without an adult present. Pool fences should be at least four feet or taller. It should not have footholds or handholds that could help a child climb over it. Fence gates should also be self-closing, self-latching to keep it closed at all times and prevent easy access to the pool.


Alarms for doors, gates, windows, pools and spas help notify adults anytime an unsupervised child is in or around water. There are a number of types of alarms that can be used in and around a pool area, but generally they should emit a sound when triggered for at least 30 seconds or more and within 7 seconds after activation. The alarm sound should be distinct from other sounds around the house such as a doorbell, telephone, and smoke alarm.

Safety Covers

A pool cover is a manual or motorized barrier that can be placed over the water’s surface. Pool covers are a great addition to a safety system because it visually says “not open”. It’s especially effective for keeping children under the age of 5 from accessing the water. All safety covers should comply with the ASTM F 1346-91 specifications – this is the standard that specifies safety performance requirements for pool covers. Pool covers should be able to hold the weight of two adults and a child to allow a rescue if a child does fall onto the cover. Most importantly, pool covers should be able to be easily and swiftly be removed from the water to respond to emergencies.

Emergency Kit

A safety toolkit is a great way to prepare materials your family may need in the event of an emergency. Place the following materials near the pool area for easy and quick access:

  • First aid kit
  • A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover if needed
  • Charged portable phone to call 911
  • Safety flotation device

Swimming Lessons

Ensuring that every family member learns how to swim is the strongest way of preventing accidents. Children as young as six months old can be enrolled in an Infant Aquatic Survival class were they could learn to flip over, float, and take breaths until help arrives. In addition, learning how to perform CPR on children and adults can be invaluable during an emergency.

No single safety system is foolproof, that’s why it’s highly recommended that several measures be put in place in every safety system! If you have any questions about pool safety, please contact me or visit www.PoolSafely.gov.

If you have any questions about the Infant Aquatic Survival program at Texas Swim Academy, please visit our programs page or stop by our facility.


Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips

Reduce Your Child's Risk of Drowning with These Water Safety Tips | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Survival Katy Texas

As an Infant Aquatics Survival Specialist, water safety is a topic I like to focus on all year long, not just during swim season. At Texas Swim Academy, we not only teach students how to swim, but we focus on educating parents and children about the importance of water safety in and around water. Unfortunately, accidental drownings happen too often, and 1 in 5 of these deaths happen to children under the age of 14. To avoid these tragedies, parents and guardians must be proactive and take preventative measures. By enrolling your child in an Infant Aquatics program, he or she has ability to save his or her own life. In addition, ensuring that all home pools and spas have the recommended pool safety equipment such as a pool fence or pool alarm creates extra layers of prevention. In the event that your child is missing, a pool or spa is often the first place to look, since many children are naturally drawn to the water.

Pool Safely is a great place to find resources on pool safety, drowning prevention, and steps you can take to ensure a safe environment for your child. Every step counts! Tune into the video below to learn more pool safety tips.

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Every pool owner, especially if you have young children, should pay close attention to pool safety. Infant Aquatics Survival lessons are a very important step in protecting your child against drowning, however accidents at home can still happen and basic pool safety guidelines are a way of minimizing danger. Here’s what you need to know about safety in home swimming pools:

Home Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy Texas

Pool safety equipment. Home swimming pools should be equipped with the basics for pool safety, including a pool cover and safety drain covers. Choose a pool drain that is compliant with the PS&S Act for the safest option. In addition, pool fencing with an alarm or a water movement alarm are great equipment to warn you that a drowning accident could be underway, especially at times when you are not using the pool. If you are having a pool built, zero-depth entry design is safer for young children and provides a shallow play area.

Regular pool maintenance. Keep your pool clean and in good working order. Check pumps, drains and covers regularly, along with pool chemicals.

Pool safety skills. A supervising adult should know both life-saving basics and CPR for children and adults. Children should be schooled in the fundamentals of pool and water safety, including no running in the pool area, no diving into shallow water, stay away from drains and covers, and swim with a buddy.

Always, always supervise children while swimming. Regardless of their ability in the water, swimming children should always be actively supervised by an adult. NEVER let kids swim alone. Pool Safely has a great safety and and drowning prevention guide for parents and guardians to review before swim seasons starts again.

Additional pool safety equipment. Pool Safely recommends that parents create a pool safety toolkit to keep near a pool or spa. This would include a first aid kit, a pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing, or pool cover if needed, a charged portable cell phone, and a flotation device.

34412_112749668785080_1377721_nA swimming pool that is maintained safely is a pool that is ready for maximum fun and enjoyment. More importantly, home swimming pool safety guidelines significantly reduce the risk of a drowning accident. Keep your pool and your kids safe and enjoy your time in the water! Feel free to visit the Pool Safely website for more swimming safety information.

How to Recognize the Four Types of Drowning

Did you know there are different types of drowning? There’s more to look out for than just someone struggling in the water – here’s what you need to know about the four different types of drowning.

How to Recognize the Four Types of Drowning | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

Wet drowning is the type we are most familiar with, however the symptoms do not appear as they are dramatized in film and television. Wet drowning kills silently: victims do not thrash around and scream. Because all their energy is directed toward respiration and inhaled water may impede efforts to cry out, victims who are drowning often appear lethargic. The head is usually tipped back, with mouth open and near water level, with little movement. There may be a panicked look in the eyes, and swimming effort (if any) is weak and uncoordinated.

Dry drowning results from a struggle in the water, during which small amounts of water are taken into the lungs. The reaction is delayed, and one or more hours later the victim experiences shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Watch for dry drowning symptoms from anyone who has had recent difficulty in the water, including:

  • Chest pain, cough, or difficulty breathing
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Extreme fatigue

If you suspect dry drowning, get the victim emergency hospital treatment as soon as possible.

Secondary drowning arises from circumstances similar to dry drowning – a near drowning episode or struggle in the water – and is caused by a build up of fluid in the lungs. Delayed onset and symptoms are the same as for dry drowning, as is the need for immediate emergency hospital treatment.

Electric shock drowning occurs when an electrical fault sends a strong current through the water. Pools with faulty lights or electrical wiring are a danger, as are waterways with a dock or boat with an electrical defect. Death can be caused by the shock itself, if the electrical current is sufficiently strong, or by drowning if the victim is only disabled by the current.

If you are in the water and feel the tingling sensation of a current, draw in your legs and attempt to exit the water as quickly as possible. Do not jump into water to try to save someone from electric shock drowning; call for help, throw in a flotation device, and attempt to turn off the source of electricity.

Celebrate Baby Safety Month This September!

Celebrate Baby Safety Month This September! | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert | Katy Texas

Did you know that September is National Baby Safety Month? Every year, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsors this special month to help educate and remind parents and caregivers on important best safety practices and prevention tips when it comes to raising a healthy baby. One way parents and caregivers can ensure safety for little ones is enrolling them in an Infant Aquatics swimming program.

The Infant Aquatics swimming program at Texas Swim Academy is an effective style of baby swimming lessons that equips your child with the necessary skills to survive in the water. With the guidance of a certified instructor, you child begins to learn the roll-back-to-float method, and then build upon more advanced swimming skills as he or she progresses.

With this program, babies as young as six months of age can learn valuable water safety and survival skills that save lives. Tune into the video below to learn more about the Infant Aquatics swimming program at Texas Swim Academy:

Can Swimmers Get Dehydrated?

Short answer: they sure can! The longer answer is that swimmers face many of the same dangers from dehydration that anyone else exercising does, and I have some summertime water safety tips to help make sure you avoid getting dried out while you’re all wet.

Swimming is like any other exercise: you exert yourself and your body requires water to replenish your hydration level. The added complication is that dehydration is much harder for swimmers to notice: being immersed in water makes it easy to forget the need to stay hydrated. Summer heat makes dehydration occur more quickly, another factor that makes this time of year the perfect storm for swimmer dehydration.

Can Swimmers Get Dehydrated? | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy Texas

Guarding against dehydration while swimming begins with knowing the symptoms. USA Swimming notes there are three simple ways to check yourself for dehydration:

  • Are you thirsty? If you are, then you are already dehydrated. Young swimmers might not recognize the symptoms of thirst or may ignore them, be sure to have them take regular breaks to get fluids.
  • What color is your urine? The typical pale yellow color indicates adequate hydration, however darker urine is a sign of dehydration – get some water, quick!
  • Has your weight changed? This one is a little trickier, since most of us don’t hit the scale before or after a swim. But if you do weigh yourself and notice a difference, drink water to replenish yourself. Each pound lost requires about 500 mL (16 ounces) of water to rehydrate.

Summertime safety tips in and around the water are mostly the same as any other season, but dehydration is definitely a greater concern this time of year. Watch yourself for the signs of dehydration, monitor children closely, and take frequent water breaks – you know, the kind where you leave the water to go get cool, refreshing drink!

Stay safe and have fun!


Building a New Pool? Consider These Design Features for Added Water Safety

Building a New Pool? Consider These Design Features for Added Water Safety  | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy TexasA backyard swimming pool is an ideal space for a family to build lasting memories. It’s a space where kids can enjoy playtime and parents can relax and enjoy the scenery. However, owning a pool is a huge responsibility and if you do own one, it’s important to safeguard it, especially if you have small children. Luckily there are several design features that are especially beneficial for keeping young children safe in and around the pool starting with:

 Beach Entry

Adding a beach entry to your pool is a nice way to have a nice “resort style “pool and provides the kiddos with an open play area that’s shallow. The gradual depth prevents startling any swimmers with drastic pool depth differences.

Safety Drain Covers

Safety drains, entrapments, and suctions are all potential hazards that can be very dangerous for small children. By installing pool drain covers, this prevents swimmers from getting stuck or entangled in these features.

Pool Fencing and Alarm System

When the pool is not in use and there aren’t any supervisors around, a pool fence comes in handy. A pool fence is the most common way to ensure safety, surrounding the entire pool area and is gate-locked and childproof. Additionally, many pool fences are designed with an alarm that alerts you of intruders.

Pool Cover

A safety pool cover is a crucial safety feature but note that this is different from a solar or winter cover for your pool. To be a pool safety cover, it needs to be able to hold a minimum of 485 pounds per square feet. Additionally, there are two types of safety pool covers: mesh and solid. Both types of covers are anchored with straps that attach to steel springs on a deck and are pulled to make taut over the pool. Make sure you have a least 2 or 3 feet of deck surrounding your pool so that you can screw down the steel strings in the deck to prevent toe stubbing.

Water Movement Alarm

There are many different types of pool alarms you can install around your pool. However, a water movement alarm is installed inside the pool that notifies you when the pool water has been displaced by an object greater than 18 pounds. A Safety Turtle Personal Alarm is an alarm sensor that can be worn by an individual. These are perfect for small children, pets, and seniors. If an accident occurs, the alarm will immediately sound to the base station.

Owning a pool is a great investment for your home and your family. And to make it safe for everyone, we encourage adding all or several of these features for added layers of protection.