Have you taken the pledge to “pool safely”? It could help you stay safer — and keep your kids safer — when you’re enjoying water fun. Many adults simply don’t know what is needed to keep children safe at pools and beaches. Here’s a pledge that can help you do just that, brought to you by PoolSafely.gov, a Consumer Product Safety Commission website:
I pledge that I will …
- Designate a water watcher every single time children in my care are in or near the water.
- Make sure my kids know how to swim.
- As a parent or guardian, learn CPR.
- Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use.
- Ensure all permanent pools have a proper fence and gate and safer drain covers.
Let’s take a look at some of those items.
Designate an adult water watcher
It can be tempting to assume that a lifeguard or nearby adults will keep an eye out for your child — but what if the lifeguard gets distracted and everyone assumes someone else is watching? Unfortunately, that’s just when drownings occur.
Designate a sober adult to supervise children in the water. This person should be focusing exclusively on keeping track of the kids, not simply relaxing on the beach or beside the pool. Rotate water watchers to stay fresh.
Review water safety with kids and make sure they can swim
PoolSafely.gov has some downloadable safety materials, along with songs, games and an interactive kids’ app, that can make talking to your kids about safety more fun. Every parent owes it to their child to give them the basic skill of swimming. Even once they can swim, though, they still need to know how to safely be around water. Sit down with your kids and discuss your expectations.
Adults also need to be able to swim and to perform CPR on kids
If your child were in trouble in the water, could you respond quickly and effectively? Not if you can’t swim. If you can’t, sign up for classes before you go on vacation. Also, learn CPR — and especially kids’ CPR. The American Heart Association says that immediate CPR can double or even triple a drowning victim’s chances of survival.
Call your vacation destination about proper barriers and drains
Pools are attractive to kids of all sizes, even when they’re not old enough to take proper care. That’s one reason pools should always have fences or barriers, alarms and covers: to protect little kids and vulnerable adults from getting access without supervision. On portable pools, the ladder should be removed whenever the pool is not in use.
Whenever you’re staying somewhere with a pool or spa, call ahead to ensure they have these protections in place. Also, make sure that the pool drains are VGB-compliant to protect people from being latched onto by the powerful suction pool drains create.
Pools, spas and beaches are great fun in the summer, but they are not without risks. Reduce the risks by taking the Pool Safely pledge and teaching your kids how to stay safe in the water.