You want to keep your kids safe when they’re at the family pool – it is one of the responsibilities that goes with the privilege of having that pool. Since safety is such an important concern when you combine kids and water, it’s important to have guidelines – some apply to the kids, and some should be concerns of the parents. Here are 5 good rules to have for the pool:
1) No swimming unsupervised. There are two ways to approach this rule. First, the parents can have a family meeting where they clearly state that the kids will not go out to the pool unless Mom or Dad is with them. But when kids really enjoy being in the water, there could be a temptation to push this rule. Therefore, the second approach is to limit access. The pool should have a fence around it at least 4 feet tall, and have a gate with a locking mechanism on it. That way, a child can’t access the pool by just walking out the back door. Put audible alarms on the gate, the back door of the house, and any windows which face the pool. Here are some great resources with more information about ways to provide a safe pool:
2) Life jackets for the young children. For the younger ones, it is strongly recommended that they be put into a life jacket. While the parent needs to be holding a baby or toddler at all times, even older kids, who need to be near the parent, should wear a life jacket. Sizing a jacket for a child is not determined so much by age as it is by weight. Youngsters from 8 to 30 pounds wear an infant jacket, while children from 30 to 50 pounds wear a child sized jacket. Try the jacket on before putting the child in the water, to see how they respond to it.
3) Always be within arm’s length. As recommended by AmericanRedCross.org, it is best to keep a young child within arm’s length. It doesn’t take long for a young child to gulp a mouthful of water, panic, and be in trouble. Don’t let the situation escalate, and so be close enough to handle something that might happen.
4) Someone is always watching. The family is out at the pool having a barbeque. Dad is grilling burgers, Mom is playing hostess, and the kids are in the water. This is a recipe for something bad to happen. If you’re watching the kids, don’t do anything else – don’t text on the phone, slip inside for snacks, or anything else. Even if the kids are old enough to play by themselves in the water, they should not be unsupervised. Assuming that any adults in range will watch the kids is not a good idea either – that’s leaving supervision to chance. If Mom is on duty, and she has to go inside, make sure she passes off the duty to Dad.
5) Pool rules have consequences. First, clearly state the rules for the children – the things you expect them to obey, like “no running,” and “don’t swim without us present.” But kids get excited around the water, so they might forget (or push) the boundary. Make it clear that there will be consequences if the rules are broken – then follow through. If they break the rule, have them sit out for a set time. If they continue to push – send them inside the house. If the child knows the rules have “teeth,” they’re a lot more likely to obey them.
Once the family all knows the rules for the family pool, and those rules are clearly enforced, Mom and Dad can relax and smile as they watch as the kids splash and play around in the water.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com, because she wanted to further her passion for green living and an eco-friendly lifestyle. She currently lives in Pennsylvania, and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature. She is also working on another big project – her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.