If you're lucking enough to have a swimming pool in the summertime, you, as well as your friends and neighbors, probably want to spend as much time as possible swimming and lounging. Pools are a great way to stay cool, have fun and be active in the summer. They can also be very dangerous for young children if the proper precautions aren't taken.
According to Sabriya Rice of CNN Health, "children between the ages of 1 and 2 represent 47 percent of submersion injuries and 53 percent of fatalities for children younger than 15."
To alleviate your worries and keep your child out of harm's way, here are some basic guidelines to remember and follow with your pool. These tips are also good to keep in mind year round, even if you are not using your pool.
Talk to Your Child
First of all, just be up front with your child about the risks. Let them know the dangers and why you have set rules around the pool. There are some books and videos that make it easier for children to understand pool safety.
Use a Pool Fence or Cover
It is always a good idea to have a fence around the pool. This will keep your child out of the pool area until you are ready to take them in. If you do not have or are unable to install a pool fence, there are special coverings and nets like the pool covers at In The Swim. These protect anyone who might slip or fall into the pool from becoming submerged.
In the worst case scenario, if your child does fall into the pool, it is necessary to prepare yourself to deal with this. Even if 911 is called, having some basic first aid skills can save your child's life. Learning CPR can be an essential tool in saving your child's life in a pool accident. Life jackets, a first aid kit and anything that might help retrieve your child from the pool are items that should be close-by when swimming.
Do Not Leave Children Unattended
Never let your child outside without an adult. This may seem like common sense, but most cases of child drowning occurs when a parent or babysitter goes inside for just one minute. Even when you are with your child, pay attention to them. Do not do other tasks like reading or texting. According to babble.com, it can be more dangerous to have many adults around swimming children than just one or two— everyone assumes someone else is watching the kids.
Swimming lessons are available to children starting at 1 year old. It's never too early to implement water safety training. According to safekids.org, children under 5 account for 76 percent of drowning fatalities. Teaching them this valuable skill can help them be more prepared if an accident happens.
Make it clear that certain rules must be followed. Setting rules like no running around the pool or no going outside without an adult help your child understand the precautions they must take to stay safe. Let them know and remind them why these rules are important.
When you are in the house with your child, keep all the doors locked so they cannot go outside without you knowing. Even if they are old enough to unlock the door, it is an indication to them that they are not supposed to go outside. If you have a pool fence, always keep that locked as well. Having an alarm can also be useful.
Following these guidelines will greatly reduce the risk of your child drowning or becoming injured by the pool. Don't forget these tips are relevant around portable pools or when taking your child to the beach as well. As long as you are aware and cautious, you will have a great time swimming this summer with your kids.