Summertime is here. You can smell the barbecue, see the beautiful landscape with lush trees, and one of our children’s personal favorites – swimming pool season.
With so many things closed at the moment, there is a strong likelihood that many will take advantage of personal pools this season, or try to find a spot that is open to the public for a refreshing swim. As a mother with four children who once owned an in-ground pool and now lives in a home with an above-ground, I have learned the importance of water safety.
Pool accidents can happen, and unfortunately, they have happened to many loving parents.
My heart aches thinking about this, and even with safety measures in place, I know that something can happen in the blink of an eye. This is a guide to provide some tips on water safety that I have picked up along the way in all my years of pool ownership. Many of these are also great tips to follow when in a public pool.
- If moving to a house with a pool, make sure there is a safety fence around the parameter of it. Preferably a fence that has a separate entrance gate from the rest of the yard. If there is not a safety fence, request one be put in place or have this on the top of your maintenance list when moving in. A privacy fence with a separate gate will allow you to lock off access to the pool from the rest of the yard and decrease the chances that a child gains access when it is not pool time.
- Have a consistent pool time routine with your children. Do not break from the routine. Our children have known for the past few years that swimsuits go on inside, we step outside to the back porch area and they then place their water safety equipment on. From there, dad or I get the ladder and bring it over to the pool. We then begin pool time. Our children have learned from my constant communication that the pool, while fun and enjoyable, can also be dangerous and they are absolutely not allowed to touch it without our supervision.
- If you have an above-ground pool or a movable ladder, do not leave the ladder in or near the pool after you’re done swimming. Take the time, even if it seems like more work, to place the ladder far from the pool and chain it elsewhere or place it somewhere that the children cannot drag it back and try to get in. This is an added precaution that can give you some peace of mind when your children are outside playing. Out of sight, out of mind – my motto with the pool ladder.
- Some pools do not require ladders as they may be smaller or lower to the ground. This is one reason that I always recommend taking the time to throw a cover back on when you are finished swimming. In the beginning, this seemed like an added hassle to always drag the ladder away and cover the pool each time (sometimes multiple times a day) but with these steps in place, you will decrease the risk of an incident happening. The added time is worth it for additional safety. Even if your pool is small and your child can stand in it, I still recommend having some sort of cover or moving the pool when not in use.
- No distractions when it is pool time. If my husband and I are both outside with the children, I will take a moment to snap a few pictures while everyone is swimming and then the phone goes down. I am fully engaged during this time because it only takes seconds for an incident to happen and I want to be ready to help one of my children should something happen. If you are the only parent on duty, whether in your pool or in a public pool, always be fully engaged. I do not recommend bringing reading material or anything poolside that can lead to distraction.
- When at the pool with other adults and their children, make sure at least one adult is designated to watch the children play in the pool. An adult that is not drinking alcohol or possibly impaired. When with a large group of children, I would recommend focusing on your children regardless as larger groups can increase the risk of accidents and no one knowing that a child is in danger or drowning.
- If your child cannot swim or is still new to swimming, make sure they always have a flotation device when being in or around the water.
- If you are able to afford it, swim lessons are a great investment. There are a variety of swim classes and lessons available; I recommend doing further research to find the right class for your child.
These are a few of my priority pool safety tips that I have picked up along the way. Are there any other tips that you have for water safety? Share them with us! I hope you have an enjoyable and safe swim season! As always, do not forget the sunscreen!