I want to stress the importance that I personally place on teaching your children how to swim. I have written about this topic in the past and how it is not only beneficial for them for safety reasons but it also aids in cognitive development. Please feel free to check out that post and others I have written in the past for more information.
Next, I want to introduce a concept that my parents held near and dear to them while I was growing up, and that is the buddy system. Anytime my older brother and I wanted to do anything that involved a body of water, we had to do it together. That meant no swimming alone, no fishing alone, and no collecting golf balls out of the water hazard at the local course alone. We always had to do these things together or we would get into trouble with our parents. At the time there were instances where I thought it was silly to have to do this, but looking back on it now I see that it was a really good idea. I would urge anyone with a pool to make sure their kids adhere to the buddy system.
I also feel that another step can be made toward safety when it comes to swimming pools and children. There must always be a responsible adult supervising when children are swimming. This person should keep in mind that they are there for one reason, and should not allow themselves to be distracted. This means that your 13 year old daughter who is constantly glued to her phone might not be best for this job. In addition to that It is important for parents to learn CPR. I think that learning CPR is a good idea regardless of if you have a pool or not.
When it comes to cell phones around the pool area, I feel that using them to get on Facebook, or whatever other social media site you like is counter productive. As the supervisor, you need to remain focused. However I think that having a phone nearby is a very good idea. In fact I think that a phone is a very important part of what is known as a swimming pool safety kit. You can put anything you want in this kit but there are some things that you should definitely have in there. Below is a short list of the must haves in your pool safety too kit.
1) A first aid kit
2) A pair of scissors – to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover it needed.
3) A charged telephone – to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
4) A floatation device – Foam noodles, water wings, and little inflatable rafts are not life saving devices – They are toys and do not replace the need for supervision by a responsible adult.
The last thing that I want to mention is something that not a lot of people are fond of but I think that it is important to bring up. I know that a lot of people like to use their pool not only as a setting for family fun, but also for a place to invite their own friends to and have a few drinks. I personally feel that this is something that is up to your own discretion but I want to reiterate the fact that water and alcohol do not mix well. You could be the best swimmer in the neighborhood, or even a former high school swimming all star, but when you put alcohol into the equation, all of those skills you have, or once had are irrelevant. We have all seen video of sobriety tests where drivers can’t even walk, or end up passing out on the pavement. Well the good thing for them is that when they passed out they were still on dry land. If that were to happen in a pool it would be another story. A couple years ago I had a friend who was at the lake with some of our other friends and had been drinking. He got the idea to swim out to a floating platform which under normal circumstances would have been no problem. However since he had been drinking he never made it that far and the police pulled him out of the lake hours later. I apologize for sharing that story, but I just wanted to illustrate the importance of separating alcohol and swimming.
For more information on swimming pool safety please check out my other blog post with “safety” in the title. You can also find an abundance of information on vinyl liner in ground pools as well as general swimming pool information on my blog.