It’s hard to make it through the summer without taking your kids to the pool. But after a few weeks of lounging in the sun parents can get careless and stop paying attention to swimming pool safety. By July 3, 2014, 72 children had already drowned in a pool or spa this summer. Check out these helpful guidelines and talk about them with your children to make sure you and your family stay safe in pools.
Visiting Community Pools
- Look for a lifeguard. Keep in mind, having a lifeguard on duty may not be enough. Are there enough lifeguards? Are they attentive?
- See how crowded the pool is. Drownings can be harder to spot in a busy area, and it can make it more difficult to keep track of your children. Take snacks or drinks so you can take an out-of-the-pool break during busy times.
- Read the pool rules when you visit for the first time. Do this with your kids. Make sure children understand rules about running, horseplay, and diving. Set clear consequences for your children so they know that pool access requires they be safe.
- Work on your own skills. Make sure you are familiar with what drowning looks like, get CPR certified, and take First Aid classes. If your children are teenagers, they can probably take classes with you. If you’re not a strong swimmer, work on your own technique and make sure your children are signed up for swim lessons, too.
Visiting Household Pools
- Know who has a pool. If a child is going to a friend’s house for the first time, check with their parent to see if there are any pools on site. If so, check with them about their safety precautions: first aid kit, CPR certification, fences, locks, alarms, and more.
- Have a clear supervision policy. Know whether there will be adult supervision at all times, how many children there will be, and how many chaperones. Be willing to volunteer if you find their numbers aren’t adequate.
- Discuss pool safety with your children before visiting a home pool. Make sure they know to avoid drains and openings.
- Make sure supervising adults know your child’s swimming ability. Know how deep the pool is, whether there’s a diving board or slide, and talk to them about whether this pool will be a good fit for your child.
- Don’t forget to ask about spas and hot tubs. Check if they are covered and if children using them are supervised.
Research your neighborhood pools before you get a membership and talk to them about their standards and safety practices. When your child visits a friend with a pool for the first time, go along to have them walk you around the pool to make sure everything is in order.
Swimming pools can keep your family happy and cool all summer long, but swimming pool safety will last even longer.