Friday, January 22, 2010

Above Ground Pool Deck Safety

Sure, it's only January but it's always a good time to talk about swimming pool safety.

Above ground pools are a little bit different than in-ground pools. You probably won't need to build a fence to keep toddlers and little kids who can't swim out of the above ground pool since they can't climb a ladder... well, at least not without you watching. However, basic safety standards still apply.

You should always have safety equipment nearby like a safety jacket for kids and a life ring. Make sure visitors - especially visiting kids - know your rules before using your swimming pool. And it should go without saying that an adult who can swim should be watching at all times.

For instance, my mom insisted on no running around the pool. This didn't necessarily prevent my friends and I from running, but her constant reminders kept us from getting too out of control. My mom also told us not to jump off the overhead into the pool or go down the slide backwards... but we did anyway.

Just understand that as your kids grow older and become better swimmers there may be some things you just can't control. But if you lay down some basic safety rules when they're young they'll likely have a moment of clarity and remember those rules when it counts the most.

That said, if you're going to have visitors or young kids using your pool it's always a good idea to learn first aid and CPR. There should be classes at your local Red Cross or recreation department.

If I were a lawyer in these lawsuit happy times of ours, I would tell you to write up a TOS agreement that let other parents or swimmers know they use your pool at their own risk. I'm not sure you have to go that far - I hope not! - but it would probably be good of you to let other parents know that you do have safety equipment on hand and an adult who knows how to swim will be watching.

This is important. If you don't know how to swim or if you feel like your swimming skills should improve go take lessons.

When I was living in California a champion long board surfer named Tim Whalen told me that sometimes the best lifeguards around were surfers, because they were also the best swimmers in the water and knew the local ocean conditions better than anyone except the local lifeguards.

He told me, "If you see a swimmer in trouble, you paddle over there and get him. No questions asked. With your paddling and swimming ability, and your knowledge of the water, it should be no problem."

Now, of course we're not talking about swimming in the ocean here. But the same principle applies. Having a good swimmer who is comfortable in the water is always the best safety precaution around.

Swimming pools are great fun and good exercise but accidents do occur, and tragedies unfortunately do happen. But if you put an emphasis on safety and make sure a responsible adult is watching the kids at all times, your pool will bring you good times.

Enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Swimming Pool Deck

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping Haiti

I haven't posted in awhile because of the holidays and decking off-season. I'll be back soon with content related to swimming pools and pool decking.

That said, I wanted to pass on a link to you if you're interested in helping the situation in Haiti but perhaps skeptical of where your money is going when you donate to one of many charities involved.

From what I've read on the Agora Financial 5 Minute Forecast blog the only operational hospital there is Hospital Albert Schweitzer Haiti. If you're looking to make a donation please consider giving one to them.

Thank you,

Paul Ottaviano

P.S. -- We have no affiliation with Hospital Albert Schweitzer Haiti. But if what I read is correct I think donating money to them can do the most good now.