Children and Water Safety
Water holds endless fascination for toddlers, please take every precaution to prevent your child from entering the pool without you.
As all parents know, small children lack the cognitive ability to discern danger. It is your responsibility to protect these curious and impulsive explorers from entering any pool or spa unsupervised.
Many proactive strategies do exist, all of which provide multiple layers of protection to help minimize the risk of a child accidentally falling into the family pool or spa.
Supervision, combined with barriers (including double door locks, door alarms, pool alarms and perimeter yard fencing), pool safety fencing, gentle swimming lessons and CPR/water safety awareness can help keep your child safe.
Around water, stay close while maintaining constant eye contact, and never leave your child unattended, even for a second, if the phone is ringing, let it ring, if someone is at the door, they will have to come back, your child is only safe IN YOUR PRESENCE. Never assume someone else is watching your child. At social gatherings, designate an adult to watch the water. If your child is missing, always check the pool first. Every second counts.
Barriers are a critical part of child pool safety, as they are always there, always ready to prevent a possible mishap. Barriers should be installed and maintained around any pool where toddler activity is commonplace. Further, gates should be closed and locked with a child proof lock at all times. Locks on sliding glass and even screen doors should also remain closed and locked, this should be considered your first line of defense. Always remain vigilant, as a curious young mind can often find a way to solve a problem. Another consideration is a pool safety cover. These covers are extremely tough, and can typically be walked on by adults, additionally they keep your pool clean, as unwanted dirt and other foreign material cannot find its way into your pool. The downside of a pool cover is cost, and the shape of the pool can be limiting, as a retractable cover will not fit on a uniquely shaped pool.
Swim lessons are a vital supplement to supervision and barriers. Even during the water adjustment stage infants/toddlers who are relaxed in the water and can hold their breath and provide their parents a few extra seconds to pick them up out of the water. As children progress, advanced aquatic abilities can provide a final safety net of protection should an unsupervised water entry occur. Such skills include jumping in, turning around and swimming back to the side, recovering up for a breath and rolling to the back for a breath.
General guidelines all parents should be aware of:
• Children under the age of 5 should NEVER be left alone in a environment containing a pool or spa.
• Children should always be accompanied by an adult when swimming.
• Adults should remain within arms reach of infants and toddlers at all times.
• Children associate water toys with water, so ALWAYS store water toys out of sight of small children when not in use.
• While a emergency can sometimes be the last thing on a parents mind, it should always be planned for, always have a phone nearby.
• Water levels should be kept high, this will allow a child to reach the ledge of the pool more easily.
• Adults and neighbors should know the basics when it comes to CPR. Courses can be bought where a trained CPR instructor will come to your neighborhood and teach all interested parties, something to consider.
•Adults with small children should always be wary of distraction.
• Understand the capsize danger of water wings and other flotation devices. When these devices are used improperly they can actually hold a child underwater, and are by most standards considered to be a unnecessary danger. Many community pools do not allow their use when a life guard is present.
• Pool covers and alarms are not to be considered replacements for a good pool fence.
• Properly fitting life jackets are always preferable over “water wings”. Also always keep a shepherd’s crook by the pool.
• Anti-entrapment devices are mandatory on all public pools, however private pools are very often overlooked. BE CERTAIN THAT THE WATER THAT FLOWS OUT OF YOUR POOL THROUGH A CIRCULATION DRAIN HAS AN APPROVED COVER. MANY CHILDREN HAVE DROWNED DUE TO THE WRONG COVER BEING USED.