A swimming pool can be a lot of fun for your family, especially during the hot summer months, but drowning prevention and education are important considerations in order to keep your children safe around the water. In the United States an average of 3 children drown every day. This is perhaps partially because many people expect that a drowning child will splash loudly and yell when drowning but this is usually not the case. Often it happens quietly without anybody noticing. This is because most drowning incidents occur without the person making it back to the surface to yell or splash.
But with proper training and supervision, drowning and injuries can be prevented. The most important thing to remember is constant supervision. Young children should never be left unattended in – or near – the pool for even a moment: it is easy to get distracted by something and lose track of time. If you must leave the pool area, so should they. A good supervisor must act like a lifeguard and be constantly alert, not distracted by yard work, reading a magazine, or text-messaging. When supervising more than one child, keep a running head count.
Teach Them to Swim
Swimming lessons are a great first step in protecting your children from drowning. If you have a swimming pool in your back yard, swimming lessons for all of your children should be a top priority. Getting them used to the water at a young age can help a lot in reducing risk by making them more comfortable and confident swimmers. Even the best swimmers can drown in the wrong circumstances, however, so all children, regardless of swimming ability, should be monitored in the water.
Enforce the Rules
A good way to enforce the rules is to make it clear from the outset that pool use is a privilege and, in order to earn and keep that privilege, children must learn and follow all pool rules. Control access to the pool by putting a fence around it with a combination lock.
Keep it mellow when kids are playing near the pool: running on slippery surfaces can be dangerous and is an accident waiting to happen. Keep horseplay away from the pool and set a good example. Set boundaries in the pool and show kids where the deep parts are. A good way to decide on boundaries is to take them on a tour of the pool to see where they can and cannot stand.