Make pool safety a priority even though the end of summer draws near

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 5, 2011

in Pool safety tips, Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers

Although school is just around the corner, it is likely that with the days still being so hot, many of you will still be taking your preschoolers for a little dip in the swimming pool.

“Two-thirds of childhood drownings occur May through August,

making drowning the biggest summertime risk for kids” (RD) 

Cara Pettersen wants to remind everyone that even though your children may have been around the pool all summer long, it is important, very important, to not get laid back when it comes to pool safety. Read Cara’s tips below for making sure young children are safe while at the pool.

Child Pool Safety

by Cara Pettersen

Summer is still here and swimming pools are still in full effect. Homes with swimming pools need to be extra cautious with young children around. Kids love the water and love to push the limits of their abilities, and therefore need to be closely monitored around pools. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) goes as far to recommend “If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years” (TIPP). This certainly doesn’t suggest that children under 5 should not be allowed to learn to swim or enjoy pools, but people should be strongly aware that having a family pool posses great risks to small children.

For pool owners and parents alike there are pool safety measures to follow and be familiar with before supervising children in or around water. Pool owners with small kids should be CPR and first aid certified, and need to enforce basic safety practices to ensure water safety for all kids in their pool. Parents who allow their children to visit other families with a pool in their yard should be aware of the pool environment and ask questions about pool safety etiquette, or should be present during swimming and water play.

Pool Safety Tips

- The most crucial rule to follow is to never leave children alone in or near a pool. A drowning can be easily avoided by having an adult present at all times during swim times.

- Practice “touch supervision” when watching small children in a swimming pool, lake or the ocean. Touch supervision means that an adult is within arms length at all times.

- Equipping pools with rescue equipment can be a lifesaving factor. A life preserver should be visible and easily accessible for quick retrieval if needed. Keeping a phone near the pool is also a good idea for any emergencies and for convenience of not leaving the pool to answer the phone.

- Protect children with proper, certified life vests. Inflatable flotation devices or swimming aids are not an appropriate substitute for approved life vests and can be unreliable in a time of distress.

- A smart way of not tempting kids to go near a pool is to remove all pool toys from a pool after use. Children then will not be inclined to reach for them.

- Try to keep young children in pools that don’t go very deep, where they could touch the bottom at any given moment.

- Keep kids hydrated with fluids and water to avoid dehydration. It is easy to become dehydrated in the sun, even when playing in water.

- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen repeatedly throughout swim time! UV sunglasses, hats and protective clothing also help to protect young sensitive skin from the sun.

Understandably it can be nearly impossible to have an eye on a child every minute of the day. Homes with swimming pools and small children should undoubtedly have a fence surrounding the pool. According to the AAP, most drowning accidents happen because young children wander out of the house and fall into the family pool. Proper pool fencing helps to avoid these tragic accidents. Safety pool fences should be at least 4 feet high and surround the perimeter of the pool. It is also important to find self-closing and self-latching gates in order to ensure a secure pool gate closure.

Pool covers are a great safety addition to any pool. Safety pool covers completely cover a pool, and keep children and pets out of the water. However, be sure that you install a secure pool cover. Some pool covers, such as solar pool covers, which are fantastic for the specific use of heating pools, cannot be used as a safety pool cover. Pool covers that simply lay on top of the water can be an extreme danger for children and pets, as they can fall in and become entangled.

Always remember, teaching a child to swim does not mean the child is safe in water. Supervision and following safety precautions is the best approach to avoiding swimming pool and water accidents.

Have a fun and safe end to your summer around the pool!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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