Summer fun means kids in the pool, and that makes teaching pool safety for kids an important lesson before you turn them loose until school starts back. Whether they’re experienced swimmers or visiting a friend’s pool for the first time, it’s always good to brush up on the best pool safety tips for kids. It helps remind them of important safety practices and could be instrumental in saving another child’s life or their own.
Pool safety for kids doesn’t just involve a rote memorization of a few rules and practices, though. It should be part of a comprehensive discussion with them about situational awareness and good decision making. No set of pool tips will ever cover every situation they’ll encounter. By training them on how to think and evaluate decisions based on safety as well as establishing strong guidelines for common situations, you can help them grow and develop their decision making abilities as they mature.
Kids Tips For Pool Safety
These are meant as a starting point for a discussion on pool safety for kids. They are not the be-all, en-all. If your experience or knowledge has something to add to the list, make sure to tell them. It’s important for children to know you are engaged in their lives.
- Ask Permission – This is an important point. They should talk to you or another of their parents before accepting an invitation to go swim so you know where they’re at. They should ask permission of the pool owning adult, so that adult knows there are kids in the pool. Keeping the adults who care about them informed should be the first step on any adolescent adventure.
- Check The Surroundings – Awareness is important to pool safety for kids. They should evaluate for themselves whether a pool area is safe or not. Fallen branches, debris, electrical appliances too close to the water, and loose tiles can all become hazards around water. Some of these threats can be mitigated, some can be avoided, and some should absolutely be an end to the swimming plans until an adult can make the issue safe.
- Know Who’s Watching – Make sure they know to establish who is looking out for them when they swim. If they aren’t at a public pool with a lifeguard present, they may need to keep an eye on each other, but this should be agreed upon, especially if any of the swimmers has mobility issues or a low skill level. It can be hard for kids to admit weaknesses or vulnerabilities to each other, but stress that this is part of being responsible, a trait necessary for kids’ pool safety.
- Avoid Pool Equipment – Pool equipment should never be used as toys. Cleaning tools are for cleaning. Pool safety covers are for covering unoccupied pools. Mechanical equipment, such as that found in the motor housing for a pool cover, can cause serious injury if misused. The only children who should be operating any equipment are those who have been trained by an adult to use that piece of equipment and given permission to use it.
- Don’t Run Near A Pool – A fundamental rule of pool safety for kids is to always walk. This can be an especially hard rule to follow. However with hard tile decking, obstacles, and open bodies of water, running can be a recipe for disaster.
- Play Safely – One of the harder pool safety tips for kids to follow, it’s important that they know when to say no to a game their friends want to play. There are some great games to play in and around the pool, but there are some really dangerous and really popular ones too. Worse, it can be hard for kids to know the difference, as a game that may be suitable for a great swimmer may not be right for a child with lesser swimming abilities. They should avoid games where the goal is to hold another kid underwater or know someone into the water unaware. These can quickly escalate to a drowning or near drowning incident. Only toys designed for a pool should be allowed in the pool.
- Avoid Filters And Drains – Make sure they know to stay away from any intakes under the water. While these are most often harmless, tragic accidents have happened in the past when a child’s limited swimming abilities have been further stunted by the suction of these potential hazards.
- Keep Electronics Away From Water – It’s pool party season, and that can mean tunes by the pool, maybe a TV to catch their favorite show, or a simple charger so their phone doesn’t run out of juice. Any plugged in device can present an electrical hazard that ends with tragedy. Only battery operated devices should be in the pool area, and unless waterproof, they should be kept well back from the edge of the pool. Electricity does not often mix with pool safety for kids.
- Be careful About Diving – The safest way to enter a pool is climbing in via a ladder or stairs. Properly set up and maintained slides are generally safe. Diving boards should only be used if they’re in areas of the pool with sufficient diving depth (9-feet or more) and the area is free of other swimmers. No kid or adult should ever dive into a pool head first anywhere else. Hitting the bottom can cause a concussion, fracture bones, and lead to potential paralysis or drowning.
Safe, Smart, Pool-time Fun
With some good decision making and a little parental involvement, the summer can mean lots of fun pool time for your kids. Now is the time to start a conversation about pool safety for the kids in your household. If you need additional resources, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has some great advice and tools available for the public. At Aqua-Safe, we want to wish you and your children a safe summer of fun.