Infants frequently love pools which is why we need to be concerned about pool safety. They are really big bathtubs to splash in! And it is good to familiarize them with pools as a way of easing them into swimming and all its benefits such as the exercise, the chance for socialization, and the good clean fun that children can have from it.
The problem is that infants can’t swim; they lack hand-eye coordination and swimming technique. Then, too, there is all that slippery surface, made wet by dripping bodies and splashing children. Pools may look placid, but there is an average of 1.6 water related deaths per 100,000 people in this country. Clearly, there is a downside to pools.
If you want to introduce baby to swimming without hazard, follow these tips on pool safety:
Supervise at all times. There is no substitute for standing within reach of your baby. This may mean taking along a friend to watch the more accomplished older children. No child should go swimming without an adult present in any circumstance, but the really young ones need to have the undivided attention of an adult whenever they are near water. Make sure to have a proper reach bar with loop by the pool in case you have to rescue someone out of the water quickly.
Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. There are many places to learn about water safety, including classes. Print up and post reminders about what to do in an emergency around the pools so you will have a handy reminder should anything bad actually happen. Make sure you also have a first aid kit outside next to the pool.
As soon as the child shows readiness, start teaching swimming skills. You can introduce an infant to a pool at the age of 6 months generally, but children don’t generally learn to swim until they are over 4. Once they are ready, you want them to be able to jump into water over their heads and return to the surface, tread water for a minute, turn around in a full circle, and swim to the exit. You may want to enroll your child in a swimming class.
Don’t let the baby’s head go under water. Regardless of how you keep your pool clean, viruses and bacteria are bound to get in the water, and baby swallowing them can make him or her sick. What’s more, they can accidentally breathe in the pool water, which can cause them to choke.
If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure there is a self-closing fence around it. Infants and children are fast, and they can wander into the pool area without you knowing. The fence should keep children out unless they are with an adult (or at least give the resident adult time to turn around, realize the child has disappeared, and catch the little runaway before they actually get in the water.) It may help to get an alarm on the self-closing gate with lock so people will know if someone is trying the lock.
Don’t let the children run around the pool. The area around pools get slippery, and children can trip or fall into the pool. You don’t want to have to break up the swimming fun with a trip to the hospital just because somebody thought tag was a good game to play around the pool.
Be careful with swim toys. They are not safety aids or substitutes for supervision. They can also present hazards all by themselves. Deflate and properly store every toy after each use, and supervise children when they are using them.
These pool safety tips will keep your child as safe as possible around the pool in most circumstances. Swimming is a great pastime, and we would all like to introduce our children to it safely.