In our first article, we considered some of the grim statistics regarding childhood drowning fatalities. We also emphasized the importance of adult supervision of children in and around the pool. There’s one more critical point to distinguish when it comes to adult supervision. Simply having a bunch of adults in or around the pool isn’t enough. Someone has to be given the specific responsibility of watching the children while they swim and play in or near the pool.
Always Assign Someone to Watch the Children
In situations where there are many adults and many children around the pool area, such as a pool party, it’s easy to assume that there will be plenty of supervision. However, unless someone is specifically chosen to watch the kids who are swimming in the pool, it’s entirely possible for a drowning to occur right under everyone’s noses. In fact, there have been drownings at numerous special occasions in backyard pools or hotel pools due to the distractions that naturally occur in a busy, crowded setting. That’s why specifically designating a responsible adult pool watcher is so important. This person should hold a placard letting everyone know who is on supervision duty so others won’t distract the watcher from their pool safety mission.
It’s a good idea for the watcher to also have a whistle so they can quickly get the attention of anyone in the pool who is violating the pool safety rules. It’s a good idea to let different adults take turns as the designated pool watcher for half-hour intervals. This switching out will help the watcher remain vigilant. If you keep one person as the watcher all evening, they may eventually become distracted or complacent. Sharing this responsibility also gives everyone some time to relax and enjoy the party.
Even a Baby Pool Should Have Constant Supervision
Sometimes people assume that if the pool is just a baby pool it doesn’t pose a drowning risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. All it takes for a child to drown is an inch of water. You simply can’t be too careful when it comes to kids and water.
Learn to Perform CPR
CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a vital skill that every caregiver and parent should learn. It involves chest compression and breathing into the air passages to help keep a person alive and make sure oxygen is reaching their brain if the person’s heart stops or if they stop breathing on their own. If you don’t already know CPR, find the nearest CPR training center near you and enroll in a class. It’s a good idea to have your designated watcher be someone who knows CPR, or at least to have someone who knows CPR be nearby at all times while children are swimming in your pool.
All of the above are steps the adults should take in order to make sure that children are safe around the pool. But what about a child’s attire? What about teaching children to swim? We’ll address these important topics in our next article in this series.
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