Above Ground Pool Safety Summertime
dividerFollowing is a comprehensive list of important safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help keep your summer fun and safe for the whole family. It might be helpful to print these out and keep them handy.
FUN IN THE SUN
For Older Children
» The first, and best, line of defense against the sun is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch
brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of Ultraviolet rays),
and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
» Stay in the shade whenever possible, and avoid sun exposure during the peak intensity hours –
between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The risk of tanning and burning also increases at higher
» Sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 should be effective for most people. Be sure
to apply enough sunscreen – about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
» Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
» Some self-tanning products contain sunscreen, but others don’t, so read the labels carefully. In
addition, tanning oils or baby oil may make skin look shiny and soft, but they provide no protection
from the sun.
For Young Children
» Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of the direct sunlight. Move your baby to the
shade or under a tree, umbrella, or the stroller canopy.
» Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs and use brimmed hats.
» Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and use sunscreen even on cloudy
days. The sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 15.
» Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
» Make sure adults are trained in life-saving techniques and CPR so they can rescue a child if
» Surround your pool on all four sides with a sturdy five-foot fence.
» Make sure the gates self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
» Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd’s hook – a long pole with a hook on the end – and life
preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool.
» Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests
and can give children a false sense of security.
» Children are not developmentally ready for swim lessons until after their fourth birthday. Swim
programs for children under 4 should not be seen as a way to decrease the risk of drowning.
» Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s length,
providing “touch supervision.”
» Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
» Repellents appropriate for use on children should contain no more than 10 percent DEET because
the chemical, which is absorbed through the skin, can cause harm. The concentration of DEET
varies significantly from product to product, so read the label of any product you purchase.
» Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods
and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
» Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
» To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your
fingernail. You can also remove a stinger by pinching it out with a pair of tweezers or your fingers.
» Carefully maintain all equipment.
» Swings should be made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or canvas.
» Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap any body part.
» Make sure metal slides are cool to prevent children’s legs from getting burned.
» Even in supervised training programs, the use of trampolines for children younger than 6 years of
age should be prohibited.
» All camps should have written health policies and protocols that have been approved by a
physician with a particular knowledge of children’s health, preferably a pediatrician.
» All camps should be in compliance with immunization schedules recommended by the AAP and as
required by state and local health departments.
» All campers should be required to have a complete health evaluation signed within the past year
by a licensed health care professional, preferably a pediatrician, before the first day of residential
camp. Campers with clinically significant medical histories with implications for ongoing care (e.g.,
asthma, surgery, seizures, diabetes, or orthopedic injuries) should have had an examination within
the previous 6 months.
» Camp authorities should be responsible for describing to the parents the activities, programs and
health services available at the camp. Parents should be aware of the medical permission
requirements at the time of registration.
» By the first day of camp, parents or guardians are also responsible for providing information to
camp authorities about any current health problems and all current medications.
» Camp records should include emergency contacts for all children. In addition, if a chronic
condition exists (e.g., diabetes), the child’s physician should be identified by name, telephone
number, and fax number, and the date of the last health care visit should be noted.
» Buckle up car seats and seat belts.
» Keep supplies with you, such as snacks, water, a first aid kit and any medicines your child takes.
» Always use a car seat, starting with your baby’s first ride home from the hospital. Help your child
form a lifelong habit of buckling up.
» Read the manufacturer’s instructions and always keep them with the car seat. Read your vehicle
owner’s manual for more information on how to install the car seat.
» Put your child in the back seat. It is the safest place in the car because it is farthest away from a
head-on crash (the most common type of crash).
» The harness system holds your child in the car seat and the seat belts hold the seat in the car.
Attach both snugly to protect your child.
» Children in rear-facing car seats should never be placed in a front seat equipped with an air bag.
» Children traveling alone to visit relatives or attend summer camp should have a copy of their
medical information with them at all times.
» If you are getting a pet as a companion for your child, wait until your child is mature enough to
handle and care for the animal – usually around age 5 or 6.
» Never leave your infant or young child alone with any dog.
» Teach your child some basic safety precautions for dealing with dogs outside your home, such as
not surprising or scaring a dog or never approaching an unfamiliar dog.
» Instruct your child to stand still if approached or chased by a strange dog. Tell your child not to
run, kick or make threatening gestures. Your child should face the dog and back away slowly
until he or she is out of reach.
» Contact your pediatrician whenever your child receives an animal bite that breaks the skin, no
atter how minor the injury appears. The doctor will need to check whether your child has been
adequately immunized against tetanus.