For kids, playing in the pool is a simple way to cool off and have fun. As a parent or guardian, you certainly want to encourage this, but you also have to focus on making sure everyone’s safe.
By involving children in pool safety and making it a group effort, you'll help them learn and understand the importance of safety awareness when they’re in and around the pool. Here’s how to get started:
Cover the Basics
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the world and the second most common cause of death from injuries for children under the age of 14. More than 372,000 drowning deaths are reported each year. The problem is, most kids don’t give it much (if any) thought.
That’s why it’s important to know the signs of drowning. This includes:
• head low in the water, or tiled back
• hyperventilating or gasping
• trying to swim, but not moving
• hair covering forehead or eyes (kids naturally move their hair away from their eyes when swimming)
• eyes closed or clearly unable to focus
When someone is drowning, they won’t be able to call for help or even speak. Parents and guardians know that kids like to laugh and talk, especially when they’re having fun. Children who aren’t making noise (or otherwise demonstrating they’re not having fun) could be in danger. The best way to avoid drowning is to practice mindful supervision. Make sure the kids know they must always be in the sight of you and/or a lifeguard. Horseplay and ‘dunking’ should be discouraged.
In addition, it’s wise to learn basic CPR and first-aid. Classes are available for free or low cost through the American Red Cross, YMCA, and other organizations.
Set Clear Rules
Though children say they don’t like the rules, the fact is that they actually thrive on the structure and understanding that they provide. Setting clear rules— and consequences of breaking them — keeps everyone on the same page. But it's not enough to just lay them down. Let kids know why they must follow them by explaining what could happen otherwise. For instance, running on the pool deck could cause a fall where a child could suffer a traumatic injury, especially to their head.
Set pool access rules, and never allow children to be in the pool without adult supervision. Always have a first-aid kit available, and ensure the child knows where the kit is located.
Start Swimming Lessons Early
Introducing kids to the pool at an early age helps them make swimming a normal part of their routine. As children become more comfortable in and near the water, they’ll also begin to understand the importance of practicing safety. Swimming is fun, but also a survival skill. There are many organizations that offer professional swimming lessons.
In addition to lessons, small children should be equipped with floatation devices, which add an extra layer of protection while they’re in the pool.
Explore Your Options
Along with education, there are many other features you can add to your pool to make it safer, including fences and screen enclosures. Contact us today to find out how we can help you safeguard your pool area, so everyone in the family can focus on having safe fun and making lasting memories.