Are you heading to the pool with your toddler or preschooler? Be sure to check out these practical pool safety tips for young children.
One of the best ways to cool off in the summer is to take a splash in the pool. Whether you have a pool in your yard or you visit the neighborhood one, take measures to keep you and your family safe.
Water is beautiful but it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. Enjoy the water to the best of your ability by observing some tips.
Pool Safety Tips for Pool Owners
If you have a pool…
1. Make sure that it is supervised while in use – Keep your kids and their friends safe during summer play. Don’t leave them unattended even if they can swim.
2. Keep all electrical devices away from the pool – Electricity and water don’t mix. Make sure that all cords and machinery or electric tools are not in the vicinity of the pool where they can cause danger.
3. Keep the pool covered when not in use – This reduces the risk of someone falling in and drowning.
4. Drain the pool between uses – This applies to quick set-up pools. Draining the water keeps them from being a hazard to kids playing outside.
5. Create rules – Make sure that everyone observes them. Don’t allow running on the pool deck or horseplay on the ladder steps.
6. Add a fence around the pool – A fence can keep neighbors and pets from gaining access to your pool. Some regulations say that the fence should be at least four feet high. You can also install alarms on the gate to alert you if anyone opens it.
Pool Safety Tips When Visiting a Pool
If you are visiting the neighborhood pool…
1. Watch your kids – To keep your kids safe, keep your eyes on them. Don’t depend on the lifeguard to see if something happens to them. Alert the lifeguard if you can’t find your child in the water.
2. Wear sunscreen – Use waterproof sunscreen so you and your family are protected from the sun’s rays during your time in the pool.
3. No diving in the pool – It can lead to head injuries and even death. Unless there is a diving board and you or your child are experienced at swimming and diving, avoid it.
4. Learn to swim – Everyone needs to learn to swim. It can save your life. Even if kids are just bouncing around in the water, knowing how to swim can keep them from panicking if they are pushed or fall into the pool.
5. Learn CPR – Know how to rescue another if a child is in trouble in the water.
6. Use equipment wisely – Don’t use equipment or toys in the pool that don’t belong there. If a device is not made for flotation, don’t count on it to save your life.
7. Wear a life vest – If your child can’t swim, a life vest will help protect them while playing in the water.
Spending time in the water should be fun. And, it will be as long as you stay safe.
Teaching Pool Safety Tips to Young Children
While it is important to discuss pool safety with small children, namely toddlers and preschoolers, you do not want to outright put fear in your child. You will want them to enjoy the swimming pool, not fear it. However, that enjoyment can only occur when you are right by their side. That is why you will want to proceed with caution.
You can outright talk to your child about pool safety.
Let them know that they can be a lot of fun, but that they can also be dangerous. For example, if your child doesn’t know how to swim, explain to them what would happen if they fall in. You may want to refrain from bringing death into the discussion, but it is your decision to make. Speaking of not knowing how to swim, now is the time to either teach your child or sign them up for swim lessons.
Another effective approach to take is to show your child the pool.
Show them how deep it is and how dangerous that deep water can be. Let them know that they are not allowed in the pool without you by their side. You may also want to show your child that they can only go swimming with a swimsuit. Of course, you will need to make sure that you keep that suit out of your child’s reach. With this approach, they may be more likely to ask you to go swimming, as opposed to trying by themselves.
If you decide to walk your child out to the pool and discuss safety with them there, now is also the time to create boundaries.
If you have a pool fence installed, which you should, let your child know that they are not allowed to play too close to it. Set an imaginary boundary and ask your child not to cross that point. Once again, most toddlers and preschoolers are at the age where they should understand these types of directions.
As for teaching your child what to do in the event of an accident, like a fall in, there are a number of pros and cons to doing so.
Yes, you want your child to know what to do, but many parents are afraid this may provide their children with false confidence. Some feel that they may encourage young children to jump right in the pool, even when unattended, as they think they know how to handle the situation.
As for what you should definitely not do, do not show your child how to unlock or unlatch the pool fence gate. This is something that you will want to keep to yourself. In fact, when entering the pool with your child at your side, try to block their view. A pool fence essentially become ineffective when your child knows how to get around it.
Although there are a number of different ways that you can educate your toddler or preschooler on the subject of pool safety, it is important to remember that the responsibility of keeping your child safe lays with you. Never leave your child unsupervised around a swimming pool, even if you are not swimming at the time. Install a pool safety fence. Even if law doesn’t require one, it is still a good pool safety tool to utilize. Pool alarm and safety covers are recommended as well.