Pool safety for kids

These 10 Pool Rules Are Critical to Protect Your Children Around Water

When most people think of installing a pool or heading on a beach vacation, they may not immediately think about pool safety for kids but keeping your family safe around the water requires setting some specific rules.

According to the CDC, an average of ten people per day die of drowning related incidents. Sadly, half of those are children under the age of 14. In order to have the best possible time around the water, setting some ground rules in advance can may the experience better for everyone.

Rule #1 – Never Leave Children Unsupervised Near the Water

This might seem like a no brainer, but when friends and family are visiting, parents tend to have more distractions. One way to combat this is to designate one responsible adult as the “pool eyes” for a set period of time. This will ensure that there are always at least one set of eyes on the kids in the pool.

Often times at my house, it’s just me alone with the kids. If I need a restroom break or one of the smaller kids needs help, the rest know that they need to temporarily get out of the pool.

Rule #2 – Do Not Exempt Young Children Who Are Good Swimmers from Rule Number 1

Even the best little swimmers are still little. They can get tired. They can hit their head or get stuck under a float or other pool toy. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your child is safe and you don’t need to watch them because they are an experienced swimmer.

Rule #3 – Do Not Substitute Floatation Devices for Supervision

Swimmies, Rafts, Puddle Jumpers and Floats are not a substitute for adult supervision, and most floatation devices explicitly state that on the label. My favorite floatation device of all time is by far the Kearns Puddle Jumpers. They have given my kids confidence in the water and greatly contributed to my kids learning to swim, but regardless of how much I trust the product, it is not a substitute for supervision.

Rule #4 – If a Child is Missing, Always Check the Pool First

Water safety for kids can be managed in a lot of different ways, but this pool rule is universal. The difference between life and death can mean just a few seconds. If a child goes missing, always check the pool first. Be sure to check the bottom of the pool and around the perimeter. Any babysitters or other childcare providers should be aware of all pool safety rules, including this one.

Rule #5 – Learn CPR

Every adult and childcare provider who will be responsible for your children while they are in the pool should be trained on CPR. Another one that seems like a no brainer, but it’s easy to forget techniques and training and certifications should be current.

Rule #6 – Remove all Toys from Pool When Not in Use

Brightly colored toys and floats can attract babies and young children to the water. If you are not using the pool, remove any toys or floats and place at least 10 feet away from the pool.

Rule #7 – Install a Safety Mechanism and Use it Properly

There are several pool safety devices on the market from a range of pool gates to pool nets.Once installed, be sure these tools are used properly by netting the pool when not in use. Never prop open a pool gate or fence.

Rule #8 – Walk, Don’t Run!

If there is one rule I repeat to my kids more than all the rest, it’s this one. Not only can kids fall and scrape up their knees on the concrete (as my 3-year would tell you), kids can slip and fall into the pool and experience more severe injuries.

Rule #9 – Lock Outside Doors

Lock all doors that lead to the pool area when not using the pool. Double check that all doors are securely locked in the evening before bed.

Rule #10 – Teach Your Kids to Swim!

This is by the far the most fun rule. The better swimmers your children become the more peace of mind you will have. Remember that accidents can still always happen and even to the best swimmers but teaching kids how to respect and understand the water will increase their ability to manage potentially dangerous situations – both for themselves and others.

While pool safety is incredibly important, sun safety goes hand in hand with any outdoor water activity. Check out top sun safety tips here. While a lot of the pool safety for kids tips above also apply to the beach, ocean safety has a whole separate set of considerations. You can view our post on top beach safety tips here.

Happy swimming!

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