As the weather gets warmer, public pools, lakes, and water parks are starting to open again. Regardless of how well someone can swim, water can be dangerous. All swimmers can suffer muscle cramps, tiredness, or accidents. It takes less than 60 seconds for someone struggling in the water to completely submerge, so good supervision is essential.
Public pools will have trained lifeguards that supervise swimmers and can react quickly in an emergency. For personal pools, you will need to supervise your kids yourself. Swim with your kids when you can, or supervise them with no distractions. When pools are not in use, make sure to barricade and secure the area around a pool. Cover the pool if possible and teach your kids that the pools is off limits when an adult is not there.
Follow these water safety tips to stay safe this summer:
- No running or pushing. This is a golden rule of all pools. Slick surfaces can increase the risk of falling and injuries.
- Never leave children unattended in or near water. Make sure you know where your kids are at all times. If you have a personal pool at home, take steps to make the pool inaccessible, such as removing steps or ladders, covering the pool or locking doors that lead to the pool area.
- Check water depth and don’t swim past your limits. Mark off certain areas where your kids can safely swim. Only experienced swimmers should swim in the deep end of the pool. There should be no diving in shallow water. Above ground, pools are not safe for diving under any circumstances. Kids should only jump into a pool bottom first, never headfirst.
- Kids under 5 should wear life jackets. Kids can’t become good swimmers until they are around 6 or 7 years old – at the earliest. Small children or toddlers should always wear a lifejacket in the water. Younger kids who are not strong swimmers should wear lifejackets too. It can help them gain confidence in their swimming abilities and be more comfortable in the water. Pool floaties or water wings do not count as life jackets and are not designed to be lifesaving devices.
- Put toys away when not in use. Water toys like pool noodles can be a tripping hazard. The same goes for other outdoor toys, like sports balls.
- Teach kids about pool drain safety. Pool and hot tub drains can be especially deadly for younger kids who can get caught in the drain itself or the suction current. Show your kids where the drains in the pool are located and teach them not to swim around drains. Public pools are regularly inspected to make sure that their drains are in working condition.
Bonus tip: Learn CPR. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is an emergency action that saves lives. It keeps a person’s blood flow active when their heart stops beating and can increase survival rates until medical staff can continue care onsite. Kids and adult alike can learn CPR for free at local fire departments or community centers.