Summer is just around the corner! For kids, nothing beats spending a hot summer day by the pool after the winter blahs. Besides being fun, swimming is also great exercise and a good way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Unfortunately, if proper precautions aren’t taken, a fun day of swimming can turn into a tragedy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death among children.
Keep your kids safe by following these important tips:
Sign them up for swimming lessons
Kids who know how to swim are safer in the water. Formal swimming lessons will help your child become more comfortable in the water, learn about water safety, become confident swimmers, and learn how to tread water. Low-cost lessons are offered in most communities by the YMCA or local Parks and Recreation centers. Your kids can start swimming lessons as toddlers and work their way up through advanced levels each year.
Supervise children around water
Children should be closely supervised by an adult at all times near water—including bathtubs, swimming pools, rivers and lakes. Many children drown without an alerting scream or splash and every second counts. So, even when there is a lifeguard present, keep a close eye on your children and avoid distractions like reading and talking on the phone.
These are not adequate substitutions for adult supervision:
· Flotation devices such as noodles and water wings
· Older children watching younger children
· A distracted adult
· An adult periodically looking out the window at the pool area
· Anyone who is drinking alcohol
Teens and young adults should always have a buddy when swimming.
Make your backyard pool safe
If you have a backyard pool it is extremely important to install barriers to make it safe for your children and also neighborhood children. Check your local ordinances, but the CDC recommends a fence at least 4 feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates. In addition, you’ll want to use alarm systems for extra safety.
Make sure to have proper safety equipment like life hooks, poles and rings. Have a working phone nearby to call 911 if necessary and learn CPR. Be sure to keep your pool drains in good working condition to avoid the risk of entrapment.
It is important to protect yourself with adequate insurance to cover the liability of a pool. Remember, you may be held liable even if someone sneaks into your pool without permission and drowns.
Think about safety when your kids are with friends
Remember to protect your children even when they aren’t in your care. Be cautious about letting children spend time at a friend’s home if there is a pool or they’ll be going to a pool. Certainly make sure safety precautions are in place and that your children will be properly supervised by an adult.
Swimming pool accidents may involve only minor injuries. Unfortunately, many times the accidents lead to life-altering injuries or even death. Should your child ever be injured you may need to consult a swimming pool accident lawyer for help, as legal liability issues can get thorny.
Hit the pool!
Don’t let the risks deter you from taking your kids swimming this summer. The CDC is a great resource for more safety tips. By following safety precautions you can keep your kids safe while they have a great time swimming this summer!