When it comes to summer activities swimming is on the top of our list. Because of this, it is extrememly important to me that my children understand the basics of water safety and are able to follow the basic water safety rules. With a little pre-planning and education, it is entirely possible to keep your kids (and their friends) safe and enjoying your pool season after season!
Tip #1: Safety Rules Rule!
Swimmers need clear rules to follow at all times. Pool safety signage is a great way to remind everyone, including supervising adults, what the expectations are in and around the pool. A “Pool Rules” sign is handy and can be tailored to any age group, for any particular type of pool. For younger children, consider having a “Pool Season Opening Day” get together, at which guests spend a few minutes creating the actual “Pool Rules” sign. Have pens, poster board or paper, a ruler and even decorations available, and allow each child to contribute. Here are some sample ideas for your “Pool Rules” sign:
- No running or pushing
- No diving into the shallow end
- No glass allowed on the pool deck
- No climbing on rocks/waterfall
- Have fun!
Tip #2: Know CPR!
Anyone supervising young swimmers, including older children and teenagers, should know CPR. In fact, children as young as nine years old are typically able to learn and retain CPR instruction. And while young children may not be strong enough to fully implement all CPR techniques, a child who knows the basics can make a difference while waiting for help to arrive. The American Red Cross offers instruction at thousands of locations across the United States, including online courses, for a nominal fee.
Tip #3: Learn to Swim!
Most communities offer affordable swimming lessons, where children as young as three can learn to swim. But, what about younger children? One answer is a technique called ISR Self RescueTM. Developed in 1966 by Dr. Harvey Barnett, ISR teaches children as young as six months of age to roll onto their backs, rest and breathe, until help arrives. Children one to six years of age are taught the same technique, in addition to rolling onto their stomachs periodically to swim for a short distance. This process of resting and swimming is repeated until they safely reach the side or steps of a pool. Here are some great resources with more information about pool safety:
Tip #4: Supervise and Secure!
There is no substitute for responsible supervision when children are in or around the pool. Pool perimeter fencing with self-latching, lockable gates are one of the best preventers of disaster. Alarms on all exterior doors are inexpensive and can alert a babysitter when an exterior door is opened. But what about neighborhood children who may want to “take a dip” while you are away? Install locks on all gates and be sure that fencing is secure around your entire property. Additionally, underwater motion sensors and rigid pool covers are excellent ways of keeping unsupervised swimmers out of your pool and injuries to a minimum.
Tip #5: Tools Rule!
Having the proper tools at your disposal will go a long way to keeping children safe in and around a swimming pool. Here are just a few “tools” of the trade:
Outside telephone: A working cell phone or other land-line extension must be within reach at all times when children are swimming. The minutes or even seconds saved by having a phone just a few steps away from a pool could be the difference needed to save a life or prevent serious injury
- Install a life ring or shepherd’s hook in plain sight on the pool deck
- Emergency first aid kit: Slips and falls should be attended to without the supervising adult leaving the pool area.
Follow these simple tips and keep kids safe this pool season!
Water Safety Books for Kids:
Click the affiliated photos to read a description of each book and take a peak inside. These are all available for purchase on Amazon.
Visit our Swimming archives for more summer activities and tips for kids!