Compared to ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, quarries, swimming holes, and the ocean; pools are very safe. The water is clear, you can see all the way to the bottom, there are no waves, and the edge is no more than seventeen feet away. Owning a pool encourages everyone to learn to swim well—and regular swimming is the best aerobic exercise. It’s also low impact.

Safety is an important issue, and I have no intention of ducking it. First, some focus. Swimming pool accidents are very rare, but there are two relatively common types. The first is a two or three year old boy who falls into the pool. The second is an intoxicated eighteen to twenty-five year old man who is injured diving. Both of these accidents are much more likely with an inground pool than above ground. A two-year old can’t fall into something that’s four feet above the ground, and most people, no matter how drunk, know enough not to dive into an above ground pool.

The American Pool and Spa Association has developed pool safety literature that should be available from any APSP member. There are pool alarms available that can provide a warning (sort of like a smoke detector) when they detect splashing in your pool.

Most important, though, is that you use the safety equipment. Don’t drink and swim. Don’t ever dive into shallow water. When you’re out watching the kids, bring a cordless phone so you don’t have to run back into the house “just for a minute”. Pools always come with safety signs that warn others not to dive. Use them. If they fall off, get more. It’s just common sense.