Summer break is nearing. Your little ones cannot wait for ice cream cones, lemonade, and daily swims in your backyard pool with their friends. Before your children cannonball into their summertime fun, there are a few pool safety tips you should consider. You can ensure everyone has an accident-free vacation.
While it may not be as “cute” as that floating flamingo you may have in your pool, a lifejacket is the safest way to aid your child’s swimming. Never use noodles or other floatation toys as the sole means to help a weak swimmer.
According to a United States Coast Guard data analysis, lifejackets can reduce boating-related deaths by half. Utilizing a lifejacket in your backyard pool will tremendously reduce the chances of a severe accident.
Enroll Your Kids In Swimming Lessons
Making sure your kiddos have a strong foundation in swimming techniques and safety is another step you should take. Formal lessons are offered at many community pools and will educate your children on swimming do’s and don’ts. The best way to strengthen your kid’s swimming skills and confidence is by teaching them the correct way upfront.
Always Have Adult Supervision
While lessons can contribute to a safer swim, never solely rely on the fact that your child feels comfortable in their swimming abilities. Make sure that an adult is present and actively observing the water while your children are at play in your pool.
Drowning can happen to a child quickly. It’s of the utmost importance that whoever is supervising is attentive and free of distracting activities like reading or yard work. If you have a young child, it’s time to throw on your swimsuit because there should be an adult within arms-reach in the pool.
Learn How To Do CPR
If a near drowning experience should happen, knowing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can save your child’s life. Statistics show that when CPR is not used immediately to help a victim, each passing minute will decrease the chance of survival by seven percent. By taking the time to sign up your whole family for CPR training, you can avoid dangerous incidents in your household.
No Breath-Holding Contests
While every kid loves a good contest, the breath-holding one should not be allowed in your pool. Using the hyperventilation technique to hold breath longer underwater can lead to your child passing out from an increase in carbon dioxide levels. After an underwater pass out, the body will naturally attempt to breathe in air and will result in drowning.
If an adult supervisor notices breath-holding contests or even overly exerted breathing from their children in the pool, it’s safest to have them get out of the water and rest before returning.
Remove Your Diving Board
According to Shepherd Center, diving is one of the leading causes of paralyzing spinal cord injuries. This injury is also preventable. Your family probably feels used to the distance between the diving board and the bottom surface of the pool. However, doing “tricks” off the diving board or diving into the wall of the pool unintentionally can still cause accidents.
Many spinal injuries are caused by diving in the shallow end of the pool. Sometimes jumping into the water any other way aside from “feet-first” can also cause injury. By removing your diving board from your pool, you can promote a dive-free space that will ultimately be safer for your family.
Keep Your Pool Area Tidy
While every community pool has a strict “no running” policy to avoid a slip, objects near your pool can create a similar danger as well. If there are floaties and other water toys covering your pool’s perimeter, this could create a tripping or slipping hazard. Falls can result in a terrible injury.
Additionally, leaving toys out near the pool when not in use may also entice young children to go outside unattended. A tidy swimming area will establish a safe space for your children.
Get A Gate For Your Pool
Installing a pool safety gate that surrounds your pool will ensure additional safety, even in the winter months. The gate should have a self-latch system that encloses the entire pool and be at least four feet in height. You can also use an alarm system on your gate. This is helpful particularly if you have young children who may wander into the backyard unattended.
Make Sure Your Drain Is Safe
Pool drains at the bottom of your pool are also a cause for concern in regards to your family’s safety. Drains create high suction and can entrap even strong young swimmers. Arms, legs, and even long hair can get pulled through the duct and lead to drowning.
Newer pools tend to have a multi-drain system, creating less suction than an older pool with only one drain. Installing a Safety Vacuum Release System can sense any blockage in the drain, automatically turning off the suction to prevent drowning.
Look Out For Signs Of Secondary Drowning
Secondary drowning is a rare but potentially fatal situation that your child can face. Secondary, also referred to as “delayed” drowning, happens when the lungs become inflamed from water inhalation. This form of drowning can occur hours or days after the water was originally inhaled.
In cases of Secondary Drowning, the water is inhaled creating irritation in the lungs. The lung’s small air sacs begin to swell and constriction of oxygen from entering the bloodstream occurs. This can ultimately become fatal. Seek immediate medical attention if your child experiences trouble breathing, continuous coughing, choking, fatigue, or vomiting.
Conclusion: Educate And Make A “House Rules” List
Educating your family through swimming lessons, CPR training, and on the risks associated with water, will give you peace of mind. It is also useful should anything out of the ordinary happen on your pool deck.
Sit down with your little swimmers and write out a list of “House Rules.” Post these rules near your pool to remind them on what is safe. Taking the extra steps to make your backyard pool a safe place will be the best thing you can do for your children and their friends this summer break.