As many of you know, we have a new Golden Retriever puppy at home. Gracie is now five months old and like most retrievers loves water. Since the weather report a few weekends ago had temperatures reaching near 80 degrees, I decided it was time to get Gracie her own swimming pool.
Since this isn't my first time at the Golden Retriever rodeo (we lost our 14 year old retriever last fall) I knew exactly what I wanted. I wasn't looking for a built-in pool, or even a 4-foot deep above ground pool, I wanted a kiddie pool. Those brightly colored formed plastic pools that are all over during the start of the summer. On Saturday, I found the pool at RIte Aid - $14.99. Usually, I wait until the 4th of July and by then they are about $7.99. But since Gracie is young and the weather was warm, I spent the extra $7. Though I learned that if I'd driven about 3 miles farther, the pools would have been $9.99 but since that would have taken another half hour and I had a slightly overheated puppy, I figured I had paid a fair price.
I think it's been about 5 years since I last bought one of these pools. I was, then, surprised to see a "No Diving or Jumping" sticker attached to it. It's important you understand that this pool was maybe 4 feet in diameter and less than half a foot deep. It's edge didn't reach my knees. Who, exactly, did the authors think was diving into these very small pools?
And then I found the safety sheet. It went on to describe the electrocution risk for this small plastic pool. I was cautioned to keep electrical lines, radios, speakers and other electrical appliances away from the pool. Had they not heard of the iPod? Or, going back in time, a Discman? I guess if I ever wanted to blow dry my hair, test my radios, or mix a margarita I need to do it far far away from this pool.
Next, the safety guide encouraged me to download from The Consumer Product Safety Commission a "Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools" document. It's nice of the government to protect us, but again, this is 5" in deep pool. I guess, I could do this, but I'll make sure that if I use my laptop I do it somewhere other than near the pool watching the puppy.
Then they caution against the drowning risks. For an infant or toddler, this is definitely a possibility (and what parent doesn't have that clearly imprinted on their brain?) and understandable. But they also advise me to keep a phone and a list of emergency numbers nearby. How about 911? Last I checked that was pretty much the best emergency number out there. Or, for even more protection, should become CPR certified? I'm debating whether or not I should feel guilty - Gracie just stepped into a 5" deep pool and I have neither a phone, a list of numbers or a CPR certification.
Now this isn't to say that I don't understand the need for safe product labeling. But it seems to me like the labeling requirements have gone too far. Shouldn't we season this with just a sprinkling of common sense (though if you want to see some really over the top safety labels, check out step stools and ladders)?
For the record, Gracie wasn't too interested in the pool. She was much more enthusiastic about the sprinkler, the toys, the snacks... Oh, well, there's always the next heatwave. Thank goodness I'm prepared!
(In case you think I'm exaggerating, I've put the safety label below. All this for a drugstore kiddie pool...)