I don’t even have a pool and accidental drowning keeps me up at night.
When we visit my in-laws who do, actually, have a pool, or my own parents who live on a lake, I am paranoid and try to make everyone else around me just the same. “Don’t forget to lock the doors!” “The kids can’t ever be outside alone, not even for a minute.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified drowning as the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for children aged 1 to 4.
Investing in safety precautions if you own a pool or are visiting those who do is critical for families with young children.
Take Swim Lessons
Sure, getting comfortable with water and swimming is one thing. A great thing, sure! But frankly, it’s not life-saving. Big swimming family? Love the beach, resort vacations, boating? Consider life-saving swim lessons. Survival swim lessons have been deemed both life-saving and controversial. Make your own call.
Add an Alarm to Your Pool
A baby or toddler wandering into a pool area unsupervised and accidentally falling in (or eagerly jumping in) is what nightmares are made of. There thousands examples of vigilant, loving parents who have lost a child in such a tragic accident, Bodi Miller and singer, Granger Smith, making headlines most recently. It really only takes a blink of an eye! Adding an alarm system to your pool is a great idea and could absolutely save a child’s life , but is not everything. Multiple precautions are key.
If you are staying somewhere with a pool or are a frequent pool party host – consider Safety bracelets for young ones who shouldn’t be in the pool without an adult. They can come in handy for outside and indoor use (in case anyone wonders off!).
Make sure gates are secure at all times and call out adults who do not properly close gates behind them. Ensure doors leading to the pool decks are locked and secured. If that requires baby proofing (like sliding doors toddlers can open), do it. Consider adding alarms to doors leading to the pool.
Teach your kids about pool safety – like no running on the pool deck, one person on the diving board at a time and no rough housing in the water. They should know all the common rules and anything specific to your house or family.
Take a CPR course with your spouse and encourage aunts/uncles/grandparents or caregivers who help with your children to do the same. Some hospitals offer these courses for free to the community. Check with your local fire station, Red Cross or hospital.
Strap on Life Jackets
Consider using life jackets or puddle jumpers for children of the right age near and around pools. The argument against these products is that they cause a false sense of security for children. I tend to argue the opposite side of that, my children already seem to have a false sense of security and bravery so I’d like to equip them with actual security rather than stroke the issue of false sense of this or that.
Putting your children in life jackets does not mean they can go out swimming alone, of course, but it does give a little peace of mind that a child who gets tired in the pool will have an extra degree of safety, save a child whose adult with them may suffer unexpectedly from a stroke, seizure or heart attack, or a child who may fall into water while playing around it will have an extra few moments for an adult to get to them.
Assign an Adult to A Kid
Drownings happen with a bunch of people standing around. It doesn’t necessarily mean a lone child has wandered off to an unsupervised pool. People are chatting, not paying attention. Drinking. Laughing. Socializing. Everyone thinks someone else is watching. That’s when it happens. Instead of assuming, assign an adult to each child that requires supervision and try to avoid trading off too much to avoid confusion.