Some of Our Favorite Things for Your Holiday List

5 Holiday Gift Recommendations

It wasn’t long ago that we were sharing outdoor theme party ideas, water confidence tips and fun pool games with you. As you know, the holidays are just around the corner. We can clearly see this in stores and hear festive tunes on the radio on our way to work, even though we might feel it’s just a little bit too early!

Have you started planning your holiday shopping list yet? For those of you who need a little inspiration we’ve picked out some of our favorite products from the SwimWays.com Holiday Gift Guide.

1. Radically creative snow play

We have to give a shout out to our sister brand COOP. Last year COOP introduced us to Shredz, a new line of snowboarder action figures. These little guys are about 3.75″ high and can glide on snow with their included snowboard. Using the Track Maker, Big Air Jump and Trick Set, kids will experience imaginative snow play by carving out a snowboarding terrain park for their Shredz toys. Perfect for families who enjoy the great outdoors.

2. Introduce baby to the water with the Baby Spring Float

SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy

Do you know a new parent who loves to swim? Why not get a gift that allows mom and dad to engage with their little one in the water? The Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy provides a memorable bonding experience between parent and child. This inflatable pool float for older babies and younger toddlers has fabric-covered inflation and a soft mesh seat for durability and comfort. It also features a removable canopy for added shade on those bright, sunny days. Suitable for children ages 9-24 months.

3. The travelling pool float

SwimWays Spring Float Sun Seat

We all know someone with the travel bug! Treat your frequently vacationing friends to a Spring Float SunSeat. This inflatable chair with fabric-covered inflation provides a relaxing sit-up floating experience; it even includes a cup holder for a favorite beverage. Super portable, this comfortable pool float easily folds and stores. It’s also the perfect size for a suitcase, so it can go pretty much anywhere!

4. Victory! A flotation device children want to wear!

We can’t say enough good things about our U.S. Coast Guard Certified Type III Personal Flotation Device just for kids. The perfect gift for a child in an active outdoor family, the colorful styling and fun flexible dorsal fin encourages imaginative role-play, making it a life jacket kids want to wear. Extremely comfortable, this children’s PFD offers freedom of movement for continuous wear, and buoyancy technology allows for successful balance of the child’s center of gravity, giving him or her greater control and stability in the water.

5. Because they should always swim with a buddy!

Our award winning Pooligans are sweet, huggable plush toys with buoyant flotation. These little guys are anti-microbial with quick-dry outer fabric and stuffing. Not just for the pool, once Pooligans dry off they’re great as an indoor buddy too!

Need something else for the water lovers in your life? Check out our other recommendations for your holiday list from our complete holiday gift guide and Pinterest boards.

There's something for everyone on your holiday list at SwimWays.com

5 Off-Season Pool Safety Tips

by Matt Giovanisci

Pool safety doesn’t stop when the summer ends and the cover goes on. In order to protect your family, neighbors and pets, a few steps have to be taken. Follow these five helpful tips to guarantee a safe and accident-free off-season.

aluminum pool safety fence

1. Invest in a Safety Fence

Fencing is actually a legal requirement in several states, so this one is a classic no-brainer. Having a secure perimeter fence with a lockable gate is the most important step one can take to secure a pool area, on or off-season. Legally, a pool owner may be liable for any person or even pet that suffers injury due to a pool that isn’t adequately fenced in.

Besides offering safety, proper pool fencing also acts as a barrier to debris, keeping leaves and other windblown objects away from your pool and its cover. While chain-link is the most cost-effective option, investing in attractive wood or vinyl fencing will add to the pool area’s beauty while offering protection.

2. Get a Safety Cover

There are pool covers, and then there are pool covers. While an inexpensive tarp may hold off debris and rainwater through the off-season, it won’t do so effectively. It also won’t be very safe. Any adult, child or large animal that accidentally finds themselves on the cover will almost certainly dislodge a tarp, even if it’s weighed down at the edges. This leaves the potential victim of tragedy submerged in cold water with dozens of square feet of tarp – not a pleasant scenario.

A secure, durable pool cover stretched taught and secured by ring bolts is the ideal protection for an inground pool. For above ground pools, safety covers are available, but the most imperative step is to make sure that the stairs leading to the pool be secured with a locked gate. A pool can be a dangerous place, and never more so than when the temperature is low and help is indoors. For that reason, pools should be kept firmly and securely covered.

3. Gate Alarms Are a Good Idea

Assuming the pool is secured by a perimeter fence, the gate must be one that can’t easily be bypassed by the unsuspecting. A self-locking gate is the best place to start, but for the extra measure of safety we recommend adding a gate alarm. These small, inexpensive alarms are installed onto the gate and emit a shrill sound when someone opens it. This serves as a warning to whoever enters the pool area while alerting anyone within hearing that someone is passing through the gate.

Pool gate alarms are particularly important for children, who are the least likely to understand the dangers of a closed pool, and pets, who may have no concept whatsoever of the hazard. The offensive sound will instinctively drive both away from the pool area, and bring the attention of any nearby adults.

4. Remove Electrical Equipment

If your pool area is equipped with electrical equipment such as lights, radios, or even the filtration system, some safety steps must be taken. Remove all wiring from the pool area for the duration of the off-season. Cover all outlets. Take away any electrical equipment that is portable, and store it for the winter. Any electrical equipment or wiring has the potential to become a fire hazard, especially when left unattended for an entire season.

5. Proper Communication

As always, the most powerful defense against any safety hazard is knowledge. As a pool owner, it is your responsibility to communicate to your family and neighbors the potential dangers of a closed pool. Talk to your children and their friends about pool hazards in the same way you’d warn them about crossing the street or talking to strangers.

Make sure that your neighbors know how dangerous a closed pool area can be to their children or pets if wandered into. If using a gate alarm, make your neighbors aware of what the sound indicates. They may be the ones coming to the rescue in your absence.

By following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your pool, your family, and your neighbors are safe year-round, and look forward without anxiety to the start of the season.

If you want to learn more about pool safety and DIY pool care, be sure to visit Swim University and enjoy a plethora of how-to videos, articles and online tools to help you take care of your swimming pool, both on and off-season.

Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci - Pool and Spa Care Expert

Matt-Giovanisci is the creator of Swim University, a website that teaches homeowners how to take care of their pools and hot tubs by providing simple how-to articles, entertaining videos, and online tools. Matt started working in the pool and spa industry when he was just 13 years old at a local pool supply store in town. He quickly became a manager at age 16, running the store entirely by himself. Since then he’s worked at a few different pool and spa companies before focusing his full attention on Swim University.
Swim University | YouTube Channel

What to do with Oodles of Noodles

Let’s just admit it. Summer is over. There’s no going back as we watch the leaves turning brown on the trees. Now that your pool is finally closed, you may have left over foam noodles from those warm summer days, but where do they go when the air gets chilly? Why not put them to work?!

Our 5 Favorite Pool Noodle Ideas

  1. This simple, yet beautiful pool noodle garland really brings everything together. Check out the blog post from Sugar & Cloth for a full tutorial.Pool Noodle Garland via Sugar & Cloth
  2. At the Swimways Corp. annual cookout this summer we used our noodles as napkin rings – a cute and colorful way to brighten up any party. Using three different colored noodles, simply slice evenly and pull your napkins through the hole for a cheap and quirky solution.Pool Noodle Napkin Rings
  3. This tutorial for creating Pool Noodle Ponies from Ginger Snap Crafts is great for imaginative young minds and makes for an awesome weekend craft project for kids and parents. Pool Noodle Ponies
  4. It is October! So here’s a fun decorative fall idea from Coupons Are Great, with tutorial – Pool Noodle Pumpkins!Pool  Noodle Pumpkins
  5. Ahoy thar me mateys! Do you have a pirate party t’plan? If so, Sophie’s World has a great tutorial and video walk-through that teaches you how to make a special foam noodle pirate sword for your little rapscallions!

But Wait, There’s More!

We’ve scoured Pinterest for the most creative pool noodle craft ideas out there and created a dedicated board. Here are our favorites! What’s your favorite noodle re-purposing idea?