What better way to spend your summer than soaking up warm weather and spending time at the pool? A day by the water might even help you conserve energy in your home. There's no need to crank up your air conditioning – and run the risk of consuming more energy – when you're outdoors.

Whether you have a pool in your own backyard or belong to one in your community, water safety is crucial for all ages. Implementing rules, creating awareness and maintaining a safer environment around the pool can help you protect your loved ones. Keep the following water safety tips in mind when you head to the pool this summer.

Educate and supervise swimmers

Sign up for swim lessons. Learning how to swim can save a life, whether it's your own or someone else's. Formal swim lessons typically familiarize all ages with different swimming styles and water safety precautions. The American Red Cross offers a year-round swim program in many locations around the United States. Also, you might be able to sign up for lessons through your local swim club.

Set the ground rules. Before anyone gets in the pool, immediately establish a few rules. Parents can set limits based on each swimmer's ability, encourage the buddy system and require any unexperienced swimmers to wear a life preserver. Also, children should notify their guardian when they get in and out of the pool.

Prevent foul play. Pool games are fun, but make sure swimmers are on their best behavior. Foul play – such as breath holding, diving and splashing – can lead to injury.

Don't leave swimmers unattended. No matter whether there's a lifeguard on duty, keep an eye on the pool at all times. If you need to leave, ask your swimmer to get out of the pool.

Learn how to handle a pool emergency

Use a pool barrier or cover. If you have a pool in your backyard, consider using a gate or barrier that's more than 4 feet tall. In fact, it's required by law in some states. A secure barrier keeps unsupervised children away from the water. For extra protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests getting a barrier with locks and/or alarms that are out of your child's reach.

Prepare an accessible emergency kit. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stresses the importance of having a safety kit on hand in the event of a pool emergency. Include items such as a first aid kit and flotation device. Also, make sure you have a cellphone nearby to call 911 if necessary.

Get CPR certified. Proper CPR training can help you respond quickly and efficiently to breathing and cardiac emergencies. The American Red Cross and other health and safety organizations might hold frequent CPR classes in your community both in-person and online. Keep in mind that a CPR certification typically lasts for two years.

Know when to call 911. A scrape, bump or bruise doesn't necessarily need emergency attention, but some pool accidents might require an immediate 911 call. If you're on the phone with emergency responders, stay calm and give as much information as possible about your location and the situation.

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