When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, there was nothing better than being invited to a pool party. I loved swimming, but rarely got the chance to do so.  When the opportunity came along to don a bathing suit and goggles, I, like virtually every child I have ever known, was all in.

As an adult and an kid's event planner, pool parties took on a different significance, one guided by one simple fact: Pools can be dangerous, especially for large parties and young children.  

For this reason, I thought I’d offer up a few tips for maintaining pool safety this summer.

Swim Parties

For parties where you are going to have kids swimming a lifeguard is highly encouraged.  In Northern California we have a wonderful company called Happy Swimmers who provide on-site guards that are certified not only in water safety, but also in CPR and First Aid.   If you don’t have access to such an organization try the YMCA, local swim clubs, college or high schools swim teams, or even your local Red Cross.  

If you opt against a guard, make sure you have adults present at all times.  Enforce rules about diving, jumping, and running.  Make sure to never overcrowd the pool.  Set aside an exact time for swimming and non-swimming activities, so that the pool can be adequately monitored.

Parties where the pool is not in use

This can be when a pool is most dangerous, especially for younger ones who are attracted to the water.  If you have a gate around the pool – decorate it in such a way that the entrance is closed off.  Or block it entirely with furniture.

If you don’t have a fence try creating a decorative barrier.  Use plants or rental hedges, place stanchions with bunting, balloon swags or bouquets.  Let people know, in a decorative way, that the pool is off limits.

Another way is to use the pool as décor.  Float pretty objects such as light up globes, weighted balloons, blow up balls, or floating flower arrangements in the pool.  My good friends at Got Light? have been known to place beautiful color changing lights either in or reflecting on the pool, so as night falls the pool becomes a luminescent centerpiece. Another simpler Got Light? solution is to outline the edge of the pool with lanterns or luminaries.  The message is then clear – look, but don’t enter.

Pool Party Lighting|Blog| Got light|sophie-world.com

Many people have pool covers – which is a great way to protect the pool.  However, I have seen more than a few distracted adults step right over the edge and through the cover. It’s still wise to mark the pool edges in some way.  Placing lounge furniture in a way that invites folks to sit and relax, but also offers a natural barrier, is a very smart way to discourage guests.

Pool Party Lighting|Blog| Got light|sophie-world.com

Pools are wonderful, and can be the centerpiece of your party.  Just remember, like anything in nature, water must be treated with respect.  As the host, it’s your responsibility to provide as safe an atmosphere as possible.

Pool Party Lighting|Blog| Got light|sophie-world.com

Now…go grab your flippers, and send out those invites!