Safe Swimming for Kids – 5 Tips to Prevent Accidents!
Watching your child and their friends swim at the family pool can be an enormous pleasure. A little thought about the possible dangers of swimming can avoid injuries or even possible drowning. To lessen stress for the pool owner – here are 5 tips that can help prevent accidents.
1) Can the child swim? The first rule is to make sure the child can swim and is comfortable with that process before allowing them into a pool. According to NYTimes.com, while this may seem like an obvious precaution, it is mandatory, and it is preferable to have the child learn to swim at an early age. If the child has properly learned how to swim, it lessens their anxiety and tension, and lessens the possibility of freezing with fear in the water. Some children take to the water very easily and feel very at home, while others might experience some fear. If the child is fearful of water, they will require more lessons or work to become comfortable at the pool.
2) No swimming alone. Do not allow a child to swim alone. Children must be supervised by an adult – Newswise.com suggests that the adult would preferably be someone who is a good swimmer, properly trained in CPR and lifesaving techniques. The adult should also have an emergency plan in place should something happen, so that panic doesn’t overtake the parent who is trying to help a panicked child. The buddy system for children swimming is a great aid – it is not meant to replace a responsible adult being present, but just affords another measure of safety.
3) Watch the area. Properly supervise the pool area. If there are a lot of adults, designate a “watcher” for the kids. The pool should be fenced and have adequate locks, so it cannot be accessed for unauthorized or unsupervised use. Keep rescue equipment at poolside and make sure depths are properly marked. Pool chemicals should be stored where they can’t be accessed by children, and the mixing and administering of pool chemicals should only be done by an adult proficient in the process.
4) Use common sense. Common sense things that go with a pool can reduce the possibility of accidents. While wet surfaces go hand in hand with being around a pool, RedBeacon.com suggests that anti-slip products can make surfaces around the pool much more safe. Adhesive pad and paint-on coatings can give poolside surfaces a better grip, and reduce the likelihood of poolside slips. When dealing with small children, don’t overlook the obvious source of pool accidents – ingesting pool water. Keep children mindful of the “don’t drink the water” rule, and avoid dealing with a serious stomach problem. Children should be cautioned also not to investigate pool drain covers. Use a vacuum release drain system, so if a blockage is detected, the pump will shut off automatically.
5) Be alarming. When dealing with a residential pool, LiveandLearn.com suggests door alarms if the house provides one side of the barrier for the pool. Having a fence around the pool is necessary, but don’t overlook a possible entry point by a curious child – walking out the door from the house. Install an audible alarm on doors accessible to the pool, and have a turnoff switch out of the reach of the children. A keypad switch can be used by adults who wish to use the door without setting off the alarm. The audible alarm immediately alerts a parent that a door has been opened, and keeps children from wandering out to the pool unattended.
A swimming pool is a wonderful leisure opportunity. It also has the potential for accidents – possibly fatal. Prudent evaluation of all aspects of the pool is essential to prevent pool related accidents, especially for children. By taking precautions, a parent can minimize the stress of pool ownership, sit back and watch their child smile and play as they splash around with their friends!
Becky Flanigan is a freelance writer for InTheSwim.com. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely golden retrievers. She spends hours at her family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs splash and play. She is also a runner, and diligently training for her first half marathon.