So far in our series on how to keep children safe around the pool (see Parts 1, 2 & 3) we’ve mostly focused on what adults can do to help prevent children from becoming victims of a drowning accident. Other than teaching a child to swim, there are some important ways you can help children to lower their own risk of drowning. Listed below are some of the rules every child should become familiar with when it comes to spending time in the pool.
Only Enter the Pool Area With Permission from a Responsible Adult
Many times when a tragic drowning occurs, it’s during a time when no one was supposed to be in the pool. Children sometimes just decide on their own that they want to get in the pool for a dip on a hot afternoon. Let them know that this is expressly forbidden and extremely dangerous. Also, let them know who is allowed to give them permission to enter the pool and who isn’t. Sometimes an older friend, sibling, or another relative who isn’t an adult may try to convince a younger sibling that it’s okay to get into the pool without an adult present. Make sure when you’re explaining the pool rules everyone understands that only parents or adult caregivers are allowed to grant permission to swim and that an adult must always be present the whole time they’re in the pool area.
Stay With Your Swimming Buddy
Implementing a buddy system for your pool sets up a second line of defense against drowning in addition to designating an adult watcher. Kids who are strong swimmers, however, can play with a buddy in the water. Make sure that both kids who are paired up as swimming partners are strong swimmers. A child, even one who is a strong swimmer, is not able to be in charge of a child who can’t swim well. Kids who are not strong swimmers need to be paired up with an adult. Even adults who enter the pool shouldn’t swim alone, regardless if they’re strong swimmers. That’s because if some unexpected emergency were to take place, like someone passing out or having a heart attack and falling into the water, there wouldn’t be anyone around to call EMS. When it comes to spending time in the pool, there’s safety in numbers.
Slow Down Around the Pool
Kids often get excited when they’re playing with their friends in the pool. It’s easy for them to get so carried away with their games and antics that they start running on the pool deck or patio. Because of the water making the area slippery, a child could fall into the water and drown, or simply fall down and get hurt on a hard surface. Make sure children know they should always walk instead of run when they’re around the pool.
Only Dive in the Deep End
Diving into shallow water can cause a person to strike their head on the bottom or side surfaces of the pool. This can lead to unconsciousness, drowning, or a broken neck and even paralysis. According to the American Red Cross, any water that is less than nine feet deep isn’t safe for diving. Let children know exactly what, if any, areas of the pool are safe for diving. Stress to them that they aren’t allowed to dive into the water anywhere else.
In our final article in this series, we’ll look at some more rules to teach children in order to keep them safe in the pool.
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