Family Magazine

Keeping Your Kids Safe at the Pool

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Keeping Your Kids Safe at the PoolWith the warm weather already here, it’s hard for kids to contain their excitement and enthusiasm for getting back outside and playing, and are probably already starting to beg you, their parents, to open your backyard pool.

 

While you might be able to convince them to wait just a little bit longer for the pool, it’s never too early to start preparing your kids and yourselves for the hazards that come with having a pool in your own yard – or even taking the kids to the community pool when it opens. Drowning is the highest cause of death in children 5 years old and under, so preparing yourselves and your kids can make a world of difference in their safety this summer.

 

Here are some tips to start preparing for the summer now to help keep your kids safe at their favorite summertime recreation spot.

Take a CPR Class

Constant supervision of your children while they’re in the water is the number one safety rule for parents, but what happens if you watch your child get into trouble and are unsure of what to do to help them?

Avoid the risk of this happening by taking a CPR class now. A basic CPR certification will not only teach you the methods of CPR so you are able to perform it if or when it is necessary, but it will usually also teach you some basic water safety instruction. If your CPR class does not offer water safety, take that as a separate class and get your certification in that, as well.

All lifeguards at community pools are required to have both of these safety certifications, but you are the lifeguard on duty in your own home, and the difference between life and death for your child could very well be your preparedness.

Most community centers or YMCAs offer CPR classes for little or no cost, so learn what it takes to save someone in the case of an emergency in the water and you could end up being your own child’s (or even a neighbor’s) hero.

 

Install a Fence

If you do have a pool in your own backyard, make sure you set up a sturdy fence all the way around it that your kids cannot climb over. The fence should completely separate the pool from your house and should feature some sort of child safety lock or alarm to alert you if your child tries to get in the pool when you are not out there with them.

Your children should never have unsupervised access to your pool. If you don’t wish to or can’t for whatever reason install a fence, look into a safe pool cover. They are now making pool covers that are similar to retractable roofs – they are solid so a child cannot fall into the water and they often feature alarm systems that alert you when a child tries to open them.

The retractable covers can get somewhat pricey, so to avoid paying the high costs, installing a fence is probably your best bet to ensure the safety of your children by not allowing them unsupervised access to your pool.

 

Install an Underwater Alarm

Say you have a fence around your pool, and your child still manages to find a way to break in. An underwater pool alarm detects motion beneath the surface and alerts you inside your house when there is any kind of movement. So if a child fell in by accident or went swimming without permission, you would know and be able to run outside to help them.

An underwater alarm is more accurate than an on-the-surface one because those that are on the surface of the water tend to detect wind movement and can send off tons of false alarms. Invest in the underwater alarm now and have it installed early so that your pool is safe and ready to go for the summer.

 

Enroll Your Kids in Swim Lessons

Although learning how to swim will not necessarily ensure that your child won’t be at risk at the pool, it will certainly help. Understand, though, that accidents can happen to even the most experienced swimmers.

That said, most public or membership pools offer American Red Cross swim lessons that not only teach your children proper swimming techniques, but will also teach them basic water safety tactics in case of an emergency.

Learning how to float and how your breath while underwater will end up being two of the most valuable lessons your children will learn. If you don’t have a membership to a public pool, consider hiring a certified instructor to come to your backyard pool to teach your children how to swim in the comfort of their own home. There are tons of instructors out there who do home lessons, so it’s just a matter of finding someone experienced.

 

Check Your Drains

There are too many horrific stories in the news every summer about a child who got stuck to a drain pipe at the bottom of the pool because of the suction and never came back up.

There are even severe cases such as Abigail Taylor, a 5-year-old girl who got stuck on a drain that’s extreme suction pulled about 21 feet of her small intestines out of her body. Abigail passed away nine months later from a cancer related to the triple-organ replacement surgery she underwent.

The moral of the story is check your drains. There are manufacturers out there who know the potential risks of their pool drainage systems and fail to inform consumers of such hazards. It’s easy for girls with long hair to get caught in a drain that has a suction that’s too strong and boys’ bathing suits are even easily caught.

If you notice that your drain has an unusual amount of suction to it, either replace the system with one that is less powerful or cover the existing one with a functional drain cage that objects will not get caught in. Make sure the cage is raised over the drain itself to keep your child as far away from it as possible, even if he or she goes to the bottom to touch it.

 

Keep Safety Up All Year

Even though it’s not quite summer yet, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore your backyard pool. If there is still water in it, even if it is covered, it is still considered a hazard. Keep a watchful eye on your kids around the pool 24/7/365, even in the dead of winter (a frozen pool poses even more potential threats).

It also isn’t a bad idea to consider enrolling your kids in indoor swim lessons throughout the winter to keep up their skills and make sure they are ready to swim for the summer. Again, lessons are generally free or very inexpensive with a pool membership and can make a huge difference in the safety of your child.

 

Sarah Barnes is a freelance writer who was a lifeguard in New York in her younger days. She knows the dangers associated with both backyard pools and community pools. If your child is harmed at a public pool, she stresses the importance of knowing a good personal injury lawyer NY that can handle the case for you. She also encourages parents to fully prepare themselves and their children for staying safe at the pool throughout the year to avoid incidences that require lawsuits.


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