As parents there are times when you just hold your breath and pray. That's especially true around summertime. Nothing is more heartbreaking than hearing about a child who drowned in a pool. Accidents can happen anywhere, but even more so at pools, where anyone, particularly children 5 and under can be at risk.
Whether a kiddie or an Olympic sized pool, beach or bay, safety precautions are vital. Unfortunately, there are too many ways for a person to drown or become seriously injured in and around the water. While we want our kids to develop a comfort level by the water, they must also have an awareness that a pool is not just for fun.
My son is just learning how to swim and was having a jolly time jumping off a raft into the pool (first mistake). On one attempt his foot got stuck so his face was submerged in water. Luckily, I was within two arms lengths away, but even if your child has a million swim hours under their life vest, you always need to be on guard.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool And Spa Safety Act and sets safety guidelines for public pools and for pool and spa products.
Drawing from the CPSC's safety guidelines, here are some basic pool rules to keep summertime fun and emergency free.
Safety Rules: Review the pool rules with your family. If hosting a pool party, review the pool rules with guests. Safety always comes first.
Never Alone: Your child should not be unattended when by the water. Young or old, someone should know you are in the pool or at the beach. Note where the lifeguards are and make eye contact with them. Your children should go to them if lost and stop and listen if their whistle blows.
Pool Watcher: On pool play-dates, designate an adult lifeguard so there’s someone always keeping an eye on the swimmers.
No Running: Walk, don't run. It could be slippery and too many injuries occur by tripping and falling into the pool.
Rest: When tired, take a rest. Lethargic swimmers can easily drown. Look for weary children and give them a hand.
Gang Way: The water should be clear of objects and people – by at least two full body lengths – before jumping, diving or swimming. When at the ocean or bay, avoid rocks and any roped-off areas and follow buoys to be sure you are within the permitted swimming areas.
Eyes Open: Always pay attention. You can have every safety procedures posted all over your house, but accidents happen in a split second. Never let your guard down. When at the ocean, never turn your back on the ocean as the waves and current can creep up and wash in when least expected. Keep an eye on your fellow swimmers.
Avoid Entrapments And Drains: Always check drain covers to be sure they are VGB-compliant. Drains and suction openings can trap hair, limbs, body parts, clothing and accessories including jewelry and are a leading factor in at home drownings.
Life Savers: Learn CPR and make sure your child has appropriate safety gear for his or her swim level, including a life vest and floatation devices. Keep a floaty by your pool.
Install Alarms And Fences: Install an alarm and a lockable fence around your pool.
Pool And Hot Tub Checks: If your child is missing or you lose sight, check your pool or hot tub first.
Compliancy: Retain a licensed professional to ensure your pool and spas are in compliance.
Phone: Keep a phone nearby with emergency numbers on speed dial.
Share your pool safety tips below.