Tag Archive: child safety tips from pediatricians

Pool Safety Tips for Kids

May 9, 2017 2:03 pm

Pool Safety Tips for KidsSwimming season is well on its way, and depending on water temperatures, you may have even taken a dip or two in the pool already. But regardless of how often your family plans to swim this summer, it’s important to know and follow some key pool safety measures. In fact, if you have a pool at your home, some of the information below should be on your mind all year round. At Children’s Wellness Center, we’re dedicated to the health and safety of all our pediatric patients, so here are some pool safety tips to keep your children safe this summer and in the years to come:

  • Any child in or near the water should always be supervised by an adult who can swim well and, ideally, who knows how to administer CPR for the children they’re supervising. Especially for children under the age of five, use “touch supervision”: an adult should always be within arm’s reach of the child. For children of any age, the adult with them should be responsible and undistracted. Use this as an opportunity to put away your phone or laptop and enjoy quality time with your children.
  • Be thinking about your child’s safety near any amount of water—never assume water is too shallow to pose a drowning risk. Sadly, even toilets and buckets of water can be dangerous for babies and children, so beyond staying on your toes near shallow “baby pools,” be sure to check out our blogs about childproofing your home, too.
  • Before signing up for swimming lessons for your child, consider some of this information from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
    1. While swimming lessons are recommended for children over four years of age to reduce the risk of drowning, there is no data to support that swimming lessons for babies less than one year old will reduce drowning risks. For toddlers between the ages of one and four, parents should use their discretion and determine whether their child’s emotional and physical development has reached a point when they’re ready for swimming lessons.
    2. Particularly for children less than four years old, make sure you choose a swimming class that adheres to the national YMCA guidelines.
    3. While swimming lessons (when appropriate) can provide an added line of defense, they are not 100% effective in preventing drowning, so even the most able swimmers should always be supervised in the pool.
  • Inflatable pools should be emptied and put away after each use.
  • Enforce detailed safety rules, including (but not limited to):
    1. No running near the pool.
    2. No pushing other children’s heads under water.
    3. No rough-housing in or near the pool.
    4. No bicycles or tricycles inside the pool’s enclosed fence.
  • Remember, children should always be wearing a life jacket when they’re in or near the water. Do not use wearable “floaties,” inner tubes, noodles, or other inflatable toys as substitutes.
  • Make sure the depth of each area of the pool is clearly marked, and point out the shallow end and the deep end to your child. Using the different depths responsibly should be part of your swimming pool safety
  • For both above-ground and in-ground swimming pools in your yard, you should have a fence around all four sides of the pool. The fence needs to be at least four feet tall, with a latch that works properly, opens away from the pool, and is out of reach of your child (the recommended height is at least 54 inches). If your house serves as the fourth wall of the fence, make sure all exits (including “doggie doors”) are properly secured. Keep any lawn furniture or other climbable items away from the fence as well, so children can’t climb on them to get over the fence.
  • If your pool has a cover, make sure it’s completely removed before you use the pool, and do not allow your child to walk on the cover or to go near it unsupervised.
  • Keep a first aid kit as well as one or more types of rescue equipment (like a lifesaver ring on a rope, or a shepherd’s hook) poolside at all times in the case of a swimming injury, and show your children how to use them. Be sure that this equipment is made of fiberglass or another strong, non-metal material so that it can be safely used during a storm if necessary.
  • Keep hot tubs and spas out of your child’s reach, and make sure your child knows that these items are off-limits.
  • Make sure any pool drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act, and keep up with a consistent pool servicing schedule so they’re always in proper working order.
  • If at any time you cannot find your child, look in your pool or pond first.
  • Explain to your child that he or she should never dive into water without knowing that it is deep enough.
  • You, your children, and any adults supervising your children at the pool should all know what to do in the case of a drowning emergency. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
    1. Get the victim out of the water as quickly as possible, and determine if they are breathing on their own. If not, start administering CPR.
    2. Tell one of the other people present to call 911. If there is no one else around, CPR should be a higher priority than calling 911.
    3. If there is no one to call 911, continue CPR until the victim is breathing on their own, and then go to call 911. If someone else has been able to call for help, continue CPR until the victim is breathing on their own or until the paramedics arrive.
    4. Even if the victim seems fine after the incident, they need to have a medical exam to make sure they are truly okay.
  • While you should always be vigilant in supervising children while they swim, pay particularly close attention to children with developmental disabilities or seizure disorders, as they are at a higher risk than others.

There is plenty to think about in order to keep your child safe at the pool, but don’t let it scare you. As long as you’re prepared ahead of time and are supervising your children appropriately, swimming can be a great way for kids to have fun during the summer, stay cool, enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise. For answers to your other questions about keeping your children healthy and safe this summer, contact us at Children’s Wellness Center and we’ll be happy to help. Or, to make sure your child is in tip-top shape before kicking off the summer festivities, schedule a well child visit on our convenient patient portal.