A backyard pool is one of the best ways to beat the heat and spend time relaxing in the summer — and many people enjoy them. But pools can also be dangerous. Since May is National Water Safety Month, we figured it’s a good time to go over some safety tips for backyard pools.

Before you allow your kids to hang out with the neighbors who have a pool or use the community pool, look for the following things:

  1. Make sure there’s a fence and a lockable gate. You don’t want your kids to slip into the pool when nobody is around just because there’s easy access and they assume it’s “fair game” because they’ve been there before.
  2. Make sure that everyone can swim. If you use a pool, swimming lessons are important for everybody in the family — especially young children.
  3. Find out if an adult will be watching when the pool is in use by children. Never assume that flotation devices like boards, pool noodles and arm wings will keep a child above water.
  4. Make sure that the pool has compliant drain covers and that pipes are covered in a way that won’t permit someone to get a toe or finger trapped in them while underwater.
  5. Find out if basic safety measures are enforced by the owners. There should be no running, jumping, tossing or shoving around the pool. A slip and fall can be deadly.
  6. Find out if diving is prohibited when there is a crowd in the pool. A diver can inadvertently land on someone who is swimming and seriously injure them both.
  7. Make sure that there’s no drinking in the pool when the kids are there. Alcohol tends to lower inhibitions and can lead to rowdy behavior that could lead to accidents.

Have a fun and safe summer — but remember that not everyone is as safety-conscious as you. If you’re at a neighbor’s pool or a community pool and things get out of hand and you or your children get hurt, you may need to seek compensation for your injuries.