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Living with a pool in the backyard, I’ve learned some very important water safety tips, because for us, it is summer all year round. We are in the pool 300 out of 365 days a year, so becoming an expert lifeguard and pool-safety marshal is my second (or 53rd) job.
With summer almost here, I thought is super important to remind parents and help with some water safety tips to keep you sane, and enjoying yourself while your children are enjoying the water. Whether it is the ocean, lake, a pool or even a small kiddy pool filled up by the hose, these tips will help you keep everyone safe, and give you peace of mind.
Keep Life Jackets or Floaties on Non-Swimmers:
The first set of tips are for little ones, who can’t swim yet. When we moved to our home with the pool, none of my boys could swim. David was just a few months old, and the older two were not used to swimming much. We got a fence put up as soon as possible, but in the meantime, I made them run around with life jackets on. I literally wouldn’t let them outside unless they were on. That way, I could watch them go in and out of the pool, or run around the yard, knowing that if I looked away for a second to feed or change the baby, no one would drown. This is super helpful if you have multiple little ones around a pool. Now that both of my older two swim, the little one literally throws a fit every time he has to put his life jacket on, but I make him do it. The reason I use life jackets is because they can’t slip off, like water wings. These ones worked the best for us:
Never Walk Away:
This is just non-negotiable. You can’t leave even to blow your nose for a second. Nothing takes priority when kids are near or in water. Just don’t walk away. I don’t let the kids in the pool unless I’ve gone to the bathroom, have my phone, have a snack, or am ready to sit outside. Otherwise they don’t go in.
No Running By The Pool:
There is a reason every pool has this rule, and it is because it is so slippery. Kids get so excited, they can’t help but run and play, but I make them tip toe around the edge. It gives them something else to think about, makes us laugh, and keeps them from running and sliding and falling off the edge.
My son had an injury at a friend’s pool, he wasn’t even running but slipped near a diving board and tore his chin up on the rough top surface of the board. Caution is key, a fall for anyone at any age can mean big trouble.
No Touching Each Other In The Pool:
Because I have boys, they want to wrestle and play. I just can’t let them near each other in the pool because I don’t want one child to jump on the other, think they are playing, and not realize the other one is stuck under water.
I just don’t let them touch each other. If they do, they have to get out. By making them sit on the edge, they are usually cold, so it is enough punishment. Kids love to jump and play, but being little still they can’t help but accidentally hurt each other.
Watch For Drains:
My mom told me about drain danger when I was young. She was particularly concerned about our hair getting caught in a hot tub drain. The drains are most dangerous if the covers are missing. If drains have missing or broken covers, the suction can become powerful enough for even adults to get stuck. Make sure you know if the pool you are using has any drain issues.
Never Depend on Older Children:
I have a five-year-old, and he is very mature at times. He actually does a great job of letting me know if he thinks his baby brother needs help, but I never depend on him. It can be tempting when they seem mature, but because they easily get distracted or focused on their own games, they can miss trouble or not even know there is any.
Know the Signs of Dry and Secondary Drowning:
I recently learned about dry drowning when a Facebook post went viral. The scary part is that this can happen after water is inhaled or swallowed, so you may not notice anything unusual happen at all. In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Symptoms of dry drowning happen right after the incident, unlike secondary drowning.
Secondary drowning is when your child may have inhaled a lot of water, and the symptoms can occur later. These symptoms can include: trouble breathing, coughing, drowsiness/lethargic, irritability, chest pain, or vomiting. If you notice any of these signs you want to treat it like a medical emergency.
These are the rules we live by with a pool in our backyard. It is essential that we are always on guard. Even just one slip, where the pool gate doesn’t get latched properly, and one child could end up in the pool. Luckily two of mine are great swimmers, but that wasn’t always the case. Even though they swim well, they need to be watched every second because of mistakes that can be made while they are swimming and playing.
I hope these rules help keep your summer safe and happy!