When you have children, having a backyard pool means spending carefree days with friends, throwing summertime pool parties, and creating priceless family memories. It also entails implementing additional safety measures to ensure that this area for leisure and relaxation doesn’t become the site of a tragic incident. If a child enters the water alone, even a weak swimmer could get into significant problems in a matter of seconds. What then can parents, guardians and other adults who look after children do to ensure their safety in and around the pool? Let’s examine some of the strategies to consider and then implement in order to help keep your swimming pool area safe.
Consider Pool Safety Carefully
Making sure parents or other responsible adults are giving pool safety the serious thought it deserves is the first step towards ensuring children are safe around the pool. In case you were unaware of the alarming facts regarding drowning deaths, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission lists drowning as the leading cause of injury-related mortality for children aged one to four.
The likelihood of these drownings is far higher in backyard pools than in public pools. Residential pools accounted for 74% of drowning deaths involving children under the age of 15, with the victim’s own pool accounting for 50% of those deaths. Sadly, 62% of these tragic drowning deaths in children occurred while a youngster was not being actively supervised by a responsible adult. Of course, the most important thing for ensuring children’s safety around the pool is to constantly be aware of where children are and to keep a close eye on them!
In light of these concerning figures, let’s examine some common sense pool safety guidelines. These are the things that all parents and other caregivers should know, abide by, and ensure the kids in their charge are fully aware of.
Always Maintain Vigilant Adult Supervision Near the Pool
A responsible adult who is capable of swimming must be always present to supervise children while they are in or near the pool. If a child isn’t a strong swimmer or can’t swim at all, an adult should be actually in the water and close by that child. The adult supervising must commit all of their attention to the current task of overseeing all activity in and around the pool. This means that the chosen responsible adult should not be preoccupied with conversations with others, reading a book or periodical, or engrossed in their cellphone. They need to be actively using both their eyes and their minds to ensure that every youngster is playing in the pool safely.
The responsible adult should be able to spot warning indicators of danger or discomfort, including an uncharacteristically weary youngster or one who starts to have trouble breathing (i.e. coughing a lot or swallowing too much water) or one which is floundering with their swimming. Should an adult observe these indicators, they ought to request that the child exit the pool and take a rest from swimming.
It is impossible to exaggerate how crucial it is to have attentive adult supervision of the pool area. Youngsters who are under constant adult observation have a significantly lower chance of drowning than kids who are left alone unattended in a swimming pool.
So far, we’ve looked at some of the sobering facts about the deaths caused by drowning in children. We’ve also highlighted how absolutely crucial it is for adults to vigilantly watch kids who are near and in the pool. Regarding adult supervision, there is one additional crucial distinction to be made: it is insufficient to merely have a large number of adults present near or even in the pool. The special duty of keeping an eye on the kids as they play and swim in or around the pool must fall to a chosen adult who makes that their only focus.
Assign Someone to Watch the Kids at All Times
It’s natural to believe that there will be enough supervision when there are many adults and kids around the pool area, such as at a pool party. But unless someone is picked expressly to keep an eye on the children swimming in the pool, it’s quite possible that a drowning can happen right in front of everyone. Indeed, because of the inherent distractions that come with being in a large, crowded place, drownings have happened in backyard pools, hotel pools and crowded amusement park pools on many occasions. It is crucial to designate an adult pool observer who is responsible for this reason. In order to prevent the watcher from being distracted from their task of ensuring pool safety, this individual should carry a sign/badge/nametag which informs everyone that they are on “lifeguard” duty.
In order to swiftly draw attention to anyone in the pool who is disobeying the safety regulations, it is a good idea for the lifeguard to carry a whistle. Allowing various adults to alternate as the official pool watcher for intervals of 30 minutes is a smart idea. The watcher will stay alert thanks to this swapping out. If you keep the same individual watching all evening, they can ultimately lose interest or grow too comfortable with their position, resulting in their failing to be constantly attentive to what is happening in the pool. When the lifeguard responsibility is shared for 30 minute shifts, then everyone present gets to unwind and enjoy the celebration and fellowship.
Even a Baby Pool Needs Regular Monitoring
People occasionally believe that there is no risk of drowning if the pool is only small enough for babies. There is nothing that is more false than this. An inch of water is all it takes for a young child to drown. It’s just impossible to exercise too much caution around children and water.
Acquire CPR Skills
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is an essential skill that all parents and caregivers should possess. In the event that a person’s heart stops or they cease breathing on their own, implementing CPR entails chest compression and breathing into the airways to help keep a person alive and ensure oxygen reaches their brain. If you are not familiar with CPR, locate the closest CPR training facility near you and sign up for a course (throughout the U.S., the Y, high schools, and colleges often offer CPR courses). When kids are swimming in your pool, it’s a good idea to select a watcher who is trained in CPR, or at the at least, to have someone with CPR knowledge close by the pool at all times.
Ensuring the safety of children in pools starts with adult supervision and preparedness. It’s time to focus now on preparing the child to be safe in the water after these have been taken care of. The first thing to consider is the child’s attire in the water.
Ensure Kids Are Dressed Appropriately for the Water
A youngster should be wearing a life jacket or vest that has been certified as a flotation device by the US Coast Guard if they are not proficient swimmers or cannot swim at all. You can let your kids choose a life jacket with a pattern they particularly enjoy or one in their favorite color. Giving children a choice in the life jacket they wear could help to encourage them to wear it at all times when they’re in the water.
It is imperative that kids comprehend that they must always wear their life jacket when in the water, unless you grant them special permission to remove it when you are nearby or when they are receiving swimming training. This takes us to the next crucial point.
Instruct the Child in Swimming
Learning to swim is one of the best methods to keep kids from drowning. It’s a terrific idea to enroll kids in swimming classes, because swimming teachers are educated to know tactics that are good for helping kids master life-saving skills in the water. You can enroll them in classes at the municipal pool in your area or at the Y, or you can locate a qualified instructor who provides one-on-one instruction.
The earliest age for these swimming lessons to begin is typically six months. In most infant and toddler sessions, parents participate as well, holding their child while the infants practice swimming to help them get comfortable in the water. Many kids are prepared to start swimming lessons on their own by the time they are four years old. Your child’s readiness for swim lessons can be determined with the assistance of a skilled instructor.
Until they acquire fundamental abilities like floating, treading water, and knowing how to exit the water in the event of an accidental fall into a pool, kids should ideally continue taking swimming lessons. It is wise for them to continue taking swimming lessons for a longer period of time which will help them to gain greater swimming experience.
But never let a child’s improved swimming skills deter you from fulfilling your adult pool-supervision responsibilities. When they’re in the water, kids don’t always make the best choices. In fact, a child who believes he is a powerful swimmer may be more likely to overexert himself in the water or to take unwarranted risks. Because of this, even children who are proficient swimmers require an adult to watch over them at all times when they are in the pool.
It’s time to concentrate on kid safety training now that we’ve discussed adult supervision, learning CPR, forcing children to wear life jackets, and teaching them how to swim. We’ll look next at some pool safety guidelines with which you can educate kids so they can keep themselves safe in and around the water.
There are several significant ways you may assist children in reducing their personal danger of drowning in addition to teaching them how to swim. Some of the guidelines that every youngster should learn about before using the pool are listed below.
Enter the Pool Area Only with a Responsible Adult’s Permission
Tragic drownings frequently happen when nobody was meant to be in the pool at all. Sometimes, on a hot and muggy summer afternoon, kids spontaneously decide they want to take a dip in the backyard pool. Inform them that this is highly dangerous and strictly prohibited. Inform them as well regarding who can and cannot authorize them to enter the pool. A younger sibling may occasionally be approached by a friend, sibling, or other relative to persuade them that it’s acceptable to enter the pool without an adult there.
Make sure that everyone knows, when you’re teaching the pool rules, that kids can only swim with permission from their parents or adult caretakers, and that they must remain in the pool area with an adult present at all times.
Remain with Your Swimming Partner
Adding a buddy system to your pool helps to provide an additional line of defense against drowning. Children who can swim well can play in the water with a friend with similar swimming skills. Ensure that the children in a swimming partner pair are both proficient swimmers. A child cannot be in charge of a child who cannot swim well, not even if the first child is a very strong swimmer. Children that struggle with swimming should only be teamed with an adult.
Even strong swimmers who are adults shouldn’t enter the pool by themselves. This is due to the fact that nobody would be available to call EMS in the event of an unanticipated emergency, such as a person passing out or suffering a heart attack and falling into the water. There is always safety in numbers when it comes to swimming pools.
Reduce Your Speed Near the Pool
When playing in the water with their buddies, kids frequently get thrilled. With their games and antics, it’s easy for them to get carried away to the point that they start hyperactively running on the patio or around the pool deck area. A youngster could easily, unexpectedly tumble into the water and drown or perhaps trip and fall and get harmed on a hard deck surface, because the water makes the surface quite slick. Make sure kids understand that when they’re near a pool, they should always walk rather than run.
No Diving Unless the Pool Has a Designed Area
Someone diving into shallow water runs the risk of hitting their head on the pool’s side or bottom surfaces. This may result in paralysis, a broken neck, drowning, or even coma. Diving is not recommended in any body of water that is less than nine feet deep, according to the American Red Cross. Make sure kids know which parts of the pool are safe to dive into. Tell them that no other place is acceptable for them to dive into the water.
Stay Away from Drains and Filters
Because of their powerful suction of the surrounding water, drains and filters, particularly in older pools, can be a drowning hazard. This suction can draw in long hair, loose clothing, and even younger children’s fingers, toes, and limbs. It is important to caution children about swimming near or playing near any drains and filters. It’s a good idea to have the filters and pool drains inspected to make sure they meet the most recent safety regulations. You should replace them if they don’t.
Use Pool Accessories with Caution
Make sure youngsters know how to use the diving board and water slide if your pool has them or if you’re swimming at a public pool that has them. Children should, for instance, always stay seated on the water slide feet first, descend from the slide one child at a time, and then swiftly clear the space in the pool area where the slide exits in order to allow others to slide down. Before allowing youngsters to ride a water slide, make sure they meet any weight or height limitations.
Children should only leap off or dive off of a diving board if they can swim back to the edge of the pool safely. A child shouldn’t use the diving board if they aren’t a strong enough swimmer to go in the deep end. A child should quickly swim to the side of the pool after diving off so that others can utilize the diving board after them. Children who are playing or swimming should stay out of the area when the diving board is in use to avoid getting in the way of the divers.
When Playing, Consider Your Safety
Children should be taught to play safely in the water. Keep them from playing rough in the pool. Games like breath-holding and chicken can cause injuries, unconsciousness, or unintentional drowning. Remind them not to submerge other kids or dunk them. Furthermore, excessive splashing should be avoided as it may make the deck much slicker and wetter than it would otherwise be. Children who are not proficient swimmers may also experience breathing or swimming difficulties as a result of this excessive splashing. Remind children that during their whole time in the pool, they are required to treat others with respect.
Everyone should enjoy themselves while you spend time with friends and family in your backyard haven or at the neighborhood communal pool. Your kids are more likely to follow the pool rules if you make an effort to frequently remind them of the rules and if you personally set an example of safe swimming behavior for them. You can significantly lower the chance of drowning and other pool-related accidents and injuries by teaching kids these vital recommendations, ensuring they’re ready to swim safely, offering responsible adult supervision, and being proficient in CPR. Thus, constantly tell your children that swimming is enjoyable when done safely!
Continue Reading about Pools
Since 1979 Lyon Financial has made the backyard resort dream come true for over 500,000 families across the U.S. Through our solid relationships with more than 3,000 pool contractors and our continued commitment to putting our clients first, we have built a reputation as the first choice in providing pool financing solutions. For more information, visit lyonfinancial.net or call (877) 754-5966 today.