I have a couple of rowdy young kids, who are very intelligent and gifted, but sometimes around the pool, they don’t show it. When they get into a cannonball contest – who can make the biggest splash off the diving board – they get a little too excited and forget to consider safety. So here are 7 ways we practice swimming pool safety for our family.
1) Barriers to pool access. We installed a fence around our pool, because we don’t want someone to access the pool when we’re not home. We put a gate with a locking mechanism on it, with an audible alarm that sounds when someone tries to use it without the gate code being entered. We don’t want our boys to be tempted to just go out and swim any time they want.
2) Constant supervision. We made it clear to the boys that they are not to use the pool without us being present. It doesn’t take long for an issue to arise, and a child to get in trouble. We don’t want that, so when the kids are at the pool, either my husband or I watches them at all times. Whoever is on watch is not doing anything else – no texting, no slipping into the house to fix snacks. The safety of our children is too important, so we take supervision very seriously. Here are some great resources with more information:
3) Swimming lessons. Kids represent a group at highest risk of pool related unintentional accidents or drownings. Several studies have strongly encouraged formal swimming lessons as a way to reduce that risk. We enrolled our kids in swimming lessons as soon as they were of age (around 4 years old is the suggestion), because we want them to feel confident and safe in the water. Our boys love the water, and I think the lessons made the water more enjoyable for them.
4) Check the pool area. We do periodic checks of our pool area – we look for tiles which might have chipped, which could lead to a cut toe. We make sure the ladders are secure and haven’t worked loose. We have a vacuum release safety system on our pump – it shuts off if a blockage is detected. My husband swims down to the drain occasionally and pushes a towel against it to make sure the system works. We check everything that might be a hazard, and fix things promptly.
5) Emergency preparedness. We have a first aid kit prominently displayed in the pool area. We put a list of emergency numbers next to our phone. My husband and I got CPR certified, and we keep that certification current. We hope we’ll never have to use those emergency resources, but we want to be prepared.
6) Pool rules. Since our boys are so rowdy at times, we have made sure to establish clear rules for our pool. Things like “no running,” are discussed, and we establish clear boundaries for acceptable behavior. Those rules apply to any of their friends who come to the pool.
7) Model good behavior. I had to talk with my husband about this once. The boys got him involved in a “big splash” contest, and I saw him run toward the diving board. I had to pull him aside and talk to him about it. (I even threatened him with a timeout.) Our boys adore my husband, and he needs to be a good role model at the pool.
When we provide a safe pool for our children, I sit back and smile as I watch them having all the fun that a pool can be for them.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her best friend and lives in Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking, biking and enjoy nature. She just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.