Anytime children are near a pool we need to exercise caution. Pool fences and pool safety covers are always good options. But following these seven tips can also help.
Eyes and Attention
Never turn your back on a child not even for a second, the situation can become critical very quickly. I remember taking my own children to the pool in our townhouse and noticed a young child in the water wearing inflatable water wings. As the small boy began to drift away from the pool’s edge into deeper water he was looking very distressed. Searching for the person responsible for keeping an eye on him I saw no one was noticing his predicament. With no lifeguard on duty and panic on this child’s face I jumped into the pool fully clothed to pull him out of the pool. His babysitter or older sibling, whoever was in charge of his safety had been reading and oblivious to his growing distress.
Lifeguards are your Best Friend
Swim only when there’s a lifeguard present while still keeping your attention on your own child or children. Lifeguards are there to keep watch over many people so never assume they have the sole responsibility for each child.
Keep a hand on babies and toddlers at all times while in a pool, even if they have had swimming lessons. Even a child under five who is a strong swimmer should be within arms reach of an adult at all times.
No Dunking Allowed
Never dunk a child under the age of 3, small children can swallow large amounts of water which could be dangerous. The experience of being dunked might increase their fear of water or taking part in swimming.
Teach Safety Basics
Teach your child water safety basics by the time they’re a toddler so they are aware of how to stay safe around water. Rules such as never running near the pool also to always have an adult before going near or entering a pool. Or show them how to reach for a pole or line thrown to them if they are ever struggling in the water.
It’s a good idea to take a course in child CPR, a good idea in general for everyone to learn this lifesaving skill. There are ongoing courses available through the Red Cross in every city and if you’ve taken this course before keep your certificate up to date.
Remove Pool Toys
As a homeowner, you are responsible for abiding by any bylaws regarding safety fencing surrounding your pool, locks and so on to deter access. For your own small children remove all pool toys, so children are not tempted to reach for them. To be secure that children are safe in your pool area install a pool cover that prevents a child from accidentally falling into the water.