Summer is officially here at last! If your kids haven’t been splashing around in pool water yet, chances are they soon will be. And as part of our ongoing effort to keep you and your loved ones safe and secure, we offer four crucial reminders about pool safety. Just remember to review them before the swimsuits go on and the kids go in!
One: Always keep an eye on your kids when near water, always
Keeping an eye on your children is your responsibility. Period. There might be lifeguards, friends or family nearby, but it’s not their job to keep constant watch, it’s yours. And things can go horribly wrong fast, so put your phone away when poolside. Thinking you’ll quickly glance at your phone and no harm can come from it is misguided. Only looking away for a minute puts your kids at risk. Your phone can wait. Facebook can wait. So can Twitter, Snapchat and every other social media app. Oh, and your email and texts too.
Every year, over 200 young children drown in backyard pools. Constant supervision is a must to prevent these tragedies.
Two: Make sure your kids can swim
It’s not just toddlers and other young children who are at risk of drowning. Tweens, teenagers and even young adults are at risk. I have also heard stories, and I’m sure you have too, of older children and teens drowning. I have a dear friend whose son drowned in his early twenties because he didn’t swim well.
Learning to swim is a lifelong, lifesaving skill, and it’s one your children can begin to learn at any age. They’re never too young nor too old to learn to swim.
Three: Keep kids away from the pool
Because kids are fast and sneaky, you’ll need to make sure your pool cannot be accessed when you’re not around if you have one at home. To do this, you’ll need a 4-foot fence, a gate that can’t be unlatched by kids, and an alarm system that goes off when someone enters the pool.
When you’re away from home but near a pool, you’ll need to rely on constant supervision to keep them safe.
Four: Know, teach and practice pool safety rules…and CPR
Have pool rules such as no diving or running, stay away from the drain, and other rules that make sense for your family, whether these rules are for your pool at home or a public one. Know what to do if someone is in trouble, and definitely know CPR. The Red Cross offers a two-hour online class on pool safety and maintenance that you can find here. Invest the time to review the course. Then go over all of the rules and what to do when something goes wrong with your kids—repeatedly throughout the summer, until it becomes second nature for you and for them.
Private and public pools aren’t the only risks. Kids can also drown in hot tubs, spas and above-ground pools, so follow these guidelines whenever your children are around water, whether that water is in your backyard, at the local park, or at the hotel you’re staying at while on vacation.