June 5th - 2013

Tips for owners of backyard pools

Vigilance - Never leave a child alone near water, not even for a second. Don’t be distracted by a ringing phone, doorbell, task or another child.


Vigilance - Never leave a child alone near water, not even for a second. Don’t be distracted by a ringing phone, doorbell, task or another child. Many children who drown do so because caregivers lose sight of them for a short time. Be vigilant in supervising children near water. Keep them within arms’ reach in the pool and keep your eyes on the child.

Assessment - Evaluate the pool to determine whether access is limited and to ensure that safeguards are in place to keep young children from getting into the pool. Check municipal bylaws to ensure the pool complies. Don’t rely on a single measure to restrict access. Use multiple barriers and various strategies.

Fence - Most backyards with pools are fenced along the perimeter of the yard. Four-sided fencing is recommended but many existing pools have only three sides of fencing with the fourth side being the house. Ideally, another fence should separate the pool from the house. Water safety tips

Gate - Ensure that the gate conforms to local bylaws. The latch should be located well above ground level and equipped with a two-phase opening mechanism that self-locks.

Lock - Install separate child-resistant locks well above a child’s reach. Use a combination lock rather than a key lock (and advise a neighbour of the combination in case of emergency.) Always keep the gate locked when no supervisor is present.

Barriers - At least two additional barriers should be set up (e.g., two fences or a fence plus an alarm system.) If an additional fence is not feasible, protect the pool area with an alarm. Many types of alarms are available, including beam alarms that encompass the pool as well as alarms triggered by motion in the water. Audible alarms on all doors leading to the pool are an option.

Supervision - Designate a backyard pool lifeguard. An adult should supervise whenever children are using the pool. If you must leave for a moment, designate another adult to replace you as supervisor. If necessary, close the pool until someone can assume supervision duties.

Life jackets - Children who can’t swim should wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) if you are not with them in the water. Water wings are not recommended because they don’t keep the head above water. Keep some floating rings and a reaching pole in or near the pool. Even if you don’t have kids, have some children’s life jackets on hand for friends and relatives who visit.

Draining - Empty unattended wading pools and buckets of water and turn them over. Children can drown in just inches of water from pools, wells, or even buckets.

Education - If you have a pool, cottage or property with access to water, you must be your family’s lifeguard. Make sure your kids learn to swim and have them complete their Bronze Medallion. Enrol them in Lifesaving Society courses so that they can learn how to be Water Smart® before they get in too deep. Learn basic first aid and how to do CPR. Never swim alone and encourage others to swim with a buddy.

The Lifesaving Society is a national, charitable organization working to prevent drowning and water-related injury. Pool owners can purchase Water Smart® resources, including detailed information, brochures and a video. For more information, visit www.lifesavingsociety.com.

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In the swim: Pools and real estate Safety is paramount for swimming pool owners

For more information contact

Ontario Real Estate Association

Jean-Adrien Delicano

Manager, Media Relations


416-445-9910 ext. 246