Swimming is a great way to cool down during the warm Summer months. Children love it, it’s great exercise, and it can be a wonderful social activity as well.
Being going to the pool does, however, create a unique set of safety concerns for parents.
The good news is, water-related mishaps and accidents can be prevented with a few simple precautions. By adopting a highly-conscious approach toward water safety, you and your child can stay safe and happy around the water this Summer and throughout the year.
1. Establish Ground Rules
If you child is old enough to understand ground rules, instilling such rules is one of the most effective measures you can take. Three commonly used rules are:
1) No swimming without the supervision of a grown-up. This is especially important if you have your own pool, or if your child has ready access to any body of water.
2) No running inside the pool area. The surface around the pool is often slippery, which can lead to falls. Not all mishaps happen in the water itself.
3) No pushing, shoving or other reckless behavior. Children should be taught to be mindful of others in and around the pool.
2. Make Sure Kids Are Always Supervised
When do the vast majority of accidents take place? When no adults are present and watching! Anytime children are in or around water, someone should be giving their full attention to the situation at hand.
In the case of young children, an adult should always be within arm’s length. Slightly older kids can be shown the buddy system, wherein each swimmer is responsible for an assigned ‘buddy.’This can provide good redundancy, and teach safety awareness amongst young swimmers, but it should never be used as a substitute for constant adult supervision.
3. Have the Necessary Equipment On-Hand
Flotation devices are, of course, a must for young children in the water, and should also be used with older children depending on their ability to swim. It’s a good idea to keep a few flotation devices in the water, even if they aren’t being used. This is especially true for crowded pool situations.
It’s also important to keep a first aid kit handy. For information on what a first aid kit should include, check out this page at the American Red Cross.
4. Make Sure the Pool Has an Adequate Enclosure
Depending on your State of residence, there are various laws pertaining to what kind of fences or borders should exist around swimming pools. Besides the obvious need to conform to such laws, enclosures should be carefully designed so that children cannot wander into the pool area on their own. Improper enclosures are one of the biggest causes of pool accidents.
5. Educate Yourself and Your Child
The sooner you get your child involved in swimming lessons and water safety training, the better off they’ll be in the long term. These measures in no way eliminate the need for constant supervision, but they certainly contribute to an overall atmosphere of your child’s health, safety and awareness.
There are also good courses for adults in water safety and first-aid. Devoting a few hours to these types of training is another great asset for pool safety.
We hope this information helps you and your child have a fun and safe time at the pool this Summer! Your questions and comments are welcomed in the space below.