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How to Make a Pool Rules Sign

This project was started 3 summers ago.  There is quite a story involved, I’m not sure how much to share here but I’ll share a bit- It’s actually an experience that deserves a post all to itself-  maybe later.

We built our pool 3 summers ago and I had fun decorating the area around it. I got the idea to turn an old window into a “pool rules” sign. I bought the window then sketched out the “rules”… silly things like “have fun” etc.  Then…wow…. then..  my best friends 3 year old nearly drowned in our pool.  She was fully supervised by 3 adults at the time – We were all swimming with our kids, no one noticed when she got into the pool without her life jacket on. We found her on the bottom of the pool. It remains to this day one of the most horrific days of my life. She was purple, limp  and lifeless.  We performed CPR and were able to bring her back. To this day she is fine. A TRUE miracle. I am completely convinced.  I get chills even writing it today.

Everyone involved was deeply and permanently effected by that day.  And this window sat in my basement for 3 years. I couldn’t bring myself to finish the project…

This week I finally finished it.  I decided to keep it “fun” but a bit more useful than just “have fun”- hence the above message.

The project was simple, I just cut out the images on my silhouette onto vinyl. Then stuck them onto the window panes.

I didn’t do anything to the window at all.  Just cleaned the glass with some windex.

To attach the window to the brick wall, my husband hung some anchors in the wall (use a masonry bit for your drill). Then I just attached some eye hooks to the top of the window. (be sure to pre drill the holes so you don’t split the wood).

Simple and quick— shouldn’t have taken 3 years to finish :0

We hung it outside above our sofa, for more photos of our outdoor room you can click here

and just a few things:

1- Take a CPR class- you NEVER know when you might need it. I get cold sweats thinking what would have happened if we didn’t know CPR. I learned it at girls camp growing up and am forever thankful for that experience.

2- Please don’t leave a “that’s why I won’t ever had a pool” comment- cause- I’ve heard that like a million times.

3- Watch out when you are swimming with lots of people- from our research after this event it seems like this is the most dangerous thing to do.  Everyone assumes someone is watching since so many people are around.  I’ve heard too many stories of kids drowning in a full pool.  I think now it’s best if you’re going to swim with kids (of any age or ability) you have to have your eyes on the pool ALL THE TIME… not sitting by the pool, or watching from a chair, be IN the pool with them.

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  1. I totally understand this post. We have a pool at our house and the first time we used it this summer my 4 yr old jumped in with no life jacket, we always make her wear one. I luckily was right behind her and was able to jump in a pull her from the bottom of the pool quite quickly but it scared me to death. I love having a pool but I now just make sure we are very safe around it! 🙂

    1. We are more careful now for sure. My sister was just here with her little kids and I was a nervous wreck the whole time. We’ve had great memories out by the pool too-

  2. Thank you for sharing that scary story and great project, by doing so you probably saved another person’s life.

    1. I debated for 3 years about sharing part of it, I finally decided to talk a little bit about it for that reason. It was my friends daughter not mine, so I was never sure if it was “my” story to share.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story….years ago, my hubs and I were at a bbq with our almost 2 year old….like you mentioned….each of us thought the the other was watching her. It was a LOUD bbq, music, people talking having a good time. The home of the bbq had an above ground pool behind the garage (off the side of the backyard) Thank GOD someone happened to be looking around the yard and saw our daughter at the top of the ladder (no one was near the pool) standing there, it makes me sick still to think of how lucky we were that someone saw here there. We would not even had heard the splash she would have made. :/ Thank God your daughter is ok. 🙂

    1. It’s so scary- pools can be so much fun but you have to be so careful. Someone falling in the pool when lots of people are around was not something I had really worried about before this. I’m so glad your daughter is okay—

  4. I’m so glad you didn’t have to relate a tragically fatal incident. This is bad enough. You say to be “in” the pool. I would have thought one would have more visibility outside the pool standing/moving along the edge. Your window is wonderfully fun and I hope it was a healing process to complete it.

    1. I thought that being outside the pool on a chair was better too- but when this happened the 3 of us (all mom’s) were sitting on chairs next to the pool- unfortunately she was on the bottom of the pool right next to the wall where we were sitting, so from our vantage point we could not see that part of the pool. The water distorts things so much… When we have little kids over that are not good swimmers now I usually sit in the pool on the steps and watch them. I think there’s no best solution other that to make sure you are aware of what’s going on all the time.

  5. Great idea for the pool rules. Frightening story. So valuable to have done a first aid course.
    I read a suggestion from where i’m not sure, but when there are lots of people in and around the pool, s to have a designated person who wears a red hat. Ideally two people, proportionally to the number of children to be supervised. The person wearing the hat is responsible for supervising. They are not to be asked to do anything else or distracted in any way. Obviously for adults to take turns. I thought it was a great idea.

  6. A miracle indeed!!! I’m glad you finished this project because it is adorable and so important! We can’t remind kids of pool rules enough!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter gave us a scare at about age 6. Went down a (SMALL) slide and the speed and pull at the end of it left her in shock. (I had warned her and she didn’t want to wait for dad to catch her, lifeguard and myself right there, so I thought “OK, go ahead”.) She was feet from the edge but couldn’t move or respond to my urge to swim. The lifeguard got in (just as I was about to–fully clothed) and helped her out. Needless, to say I have always been nervous with her and water! She continues to take private lessons summer after summer (almost 10 now) and I would not let her go to a friends swim birthday party last year at the home. And the mother had been a “lifeguard”—don’t care!! Thank you for the extra information regarding when accidents are likely to happen and I really need to update my CPR–so long ago I don’t remember! Thank God your story did not end in tragedy and understandable why the (great) project sat so long!

  8. I love your project! Thank you for posting about the dangers of pools. Our seven year old son drowned 2 years ago. Yes, he is with Jesus, but we are forever saddened and brokenhearted. We have never had a pool (and quite frankly never will–I’m not chastising you for having one either). And for the people thinking that’s why we will never own a pool….well, tragedy can strike anywhere, even if you don’t own a pool. Children can drown in bath tubs, buckets of water, and even toilets. The accident happened at my husband’s co-workers home. Adults all around, my son being supervised. All it takes is a split second for them to go under and no one sees this happen. Unfortunately, the accident happened at dusk, and that is probably (but we will never know for certain) why he went under unnoticed. There were lots of people around and kids going in and out of the pool constantly. I agree…the most danger occurs when there are a lot of people around and it’s loud and busy in the pool area.

    For those interested, I will mail free of charge water watcher tags for you to wear around your neck as a constant reminder to be vigilant in watching your children around the pool. Just email me at jwallace 9 at gmail dot com and I will get how a few of them out to you.

    1. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. After this happened at our pool part of me wanted to fill the thing in with concrete – I can see how you would never want a pool. I was always so much more worried about a child sneaking into the pool when no one was outside (which I know also happens) that I was not as worried about someone drowning with people all around. It really opened my eyes to the dangers.
      I hope that someone takes you up on your offer of the free watcher tags- that is very nice of you. and thank you for sharing your story with me.

  9. so cute melissa! sorry i never comment (i am trying to be better.) i had to chuckle because we recently had a funny experience at bear lake with “sea monsters.” remind me to tell you about it. looks fabulous!

  10. One of my friends has a lovely pool and has three kids and has a lot of kids’ pool parties. Not that anything is 100 percent, but my friend hires a lifeguard for every single pool party. She hires a teenager who is lifeguard certified to sit on a high stool and watch the water. For the price of a couple pizzas this is just one more set of eyes absolutely devoted to the kids in the water. Of course she doesn’t do that when she has a few friends over, so there is no substitute for your suggestion to sit ont the steps to watch at water level. That is a great suggestion. It can happen so quickly and silently. So scary but also a wonderful part of summer and growing up.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. We have quite a few teenagers in the area that are life guard certified, I think that would work out really well for us. We still haven’t had many parties since it all happened… we still use the pool almost every day all summer but have not had a big group yet. Hiring a life guard would probably be a good way to get over the fear a bit.

      It’s crazy it’s been 3 summers now since it happened and it still feels like yesterday sometimes when I walk out there. I think I’ve just learned you can never be too careful when it comes to kids and pools.

      Thanks again!


  11. We are currently in the process of putting in our first pool. I am excited but super scared. I keep telling my husband that I don’t know if it’s paranoia or the Spirit telling me it’s a bad idea; I’m sure it’s my motherly paranoia. I found this post while searching for a good way to post “Pool Rules”. I have considered having my teenagers (I have 5 kids from 3-17) take CPR along with me taking a refresher course. I also like the idea of hiring a life guard for large parties. These ideas and reminders give me comfort. I am looking forward to relaxing by the pool all summer!

    1. The biggest thing I’ve learned from having a pool is that you can NEVER let your guard down no matter how many people are around or how old the kids are. Overall the pool has been a wonderful experience, although I admit to still having nightmares about that day… the scariest of my life. I don’t think we’d ever let the ward come over and use it for a party, it’s just too scary to have that many people around. Less people the better. Just keep an eye on things. We’ve hired lifeguards twice now, both only charged us $25 it was money well spent!

  12. I wanna do this now! I have window like this but it’s mirrored so not sure it will work and I don’t have a sillhouette.

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