Swimming is a fun and healthy activity for children, but you need to take precautions to make sure their pool time is safe. Here's a list of things you can do to keep your child safe in the pool:
- Actively supervise your child when in or near a swimming pool and/or spa.
- Educate your children about the dangers of entrapments and entanglement.
- Pull back long hair and secure swimsuit strings.
- Don't enroll your toddler in swimming lessons until he is 4 years of age or older. No matter how good a swimmer a child becomes, she is not "water safe" at any age without your supervision or the supervision of a lifeguard.
- Remember also that inner tubes and plastic rafts don't protect your child from drowning. You must watch your child carefully, even in wading pools, as she can drown in even just a few inches of water.
- For your older child, keep in mind that horseplay and running around a pool can lead to drowning or head injuries. You should establish and enforce a "no-horseplay" rule. Part of that means following pool procedures, such as going down slides feet first to avoid injuries.
- Make sure that there is life-saving equipment, such as life preservers and poles with hooks, at any pool where your child swims.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Make sure your CPR skills are up to date. If you've never had a class, take one now. If you took one years ago, go back for a refresher course.
- Be aware that public pools can be a source of infections. Even with chlorination, pools can harbor organisms that cause diarrhea, rashes, and other health problems. Pools that require showers before swimming reduce this risk.