Splashing around, racing siblings, floating about and cooling off–swimming is a great opportunity for family fun. Whether you own a swimming pool or home spa, or visit a community pool or water park, these simple tips from the federal Pool Safely campaign can help ensure everyone, especially children, stays safe while enjoying the water:
Maintain Adult Supervision
Always watch children when they’re in or near water, and never leave them unattended. Designate an official “water watcher,” an adult tasked with supervising children in the water. That should be the adult’s only task–he or she shouldn’t be reading, texting or playing games on a mobile device. Have a phone close by at all times in case you need to call for help, and if a child is missing, check the pool first.
Even if a lifeguard is present, parents and caregivers should still take the responsibility of being a designated water watcher. When any lifeguard chair is empty, the remaining lifeguards may not be able to see the entire pool, and when lifeguards are seated in low chairs, their view can be blocked by patrons in the pool.
Teach Children How to Swim
Swimming is not only fun, it’s also a lifesaving skill. Enroll children in swimming lessons; there are many free or reduced-cost options available from your local YMCA, USA Swimming chapter or Parks and Recreation Department.
Teach Children to Stay Away from Drains
No one should play or swim near drains or suction outlets, especially in spas and shallow pools, or ever enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken or missing drain cover. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. When using a spa, be sure to locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before getting in the water.
Install Proper Barriers, Covers and Alarms on and Around Your Pool and Spa
Proper fences, barriers, alarms and covers can be lifesaving devices. Fences should be at least four feet tall and surround the pool or spa on all sides, and the water should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate. Teach children to never try to climb over the gate or fence. Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and keep pool and spa covers in working order.
Know How to Perform CPR on Children and Adults
Often, bystanders are the first to aid a drowning victim, so learning CPR can help save a life. And once you’re CPR certified, make sure to keep your certification current. CPR classes are available through many hospitals, community centers or the American Red Cross.