Never turn your back on a child while she's in the water -- not even for a moment.
Swim only when a lifeguard is on duty, but continue to keep your eyes on your child. Lifeguards must monitor many little swimmers at once; don't assume they'll always be watching yours.
Keep a hand on babies and toddlers at all times while in the pool. Even strong swimmers under 5 should always be within arm's reach of an adult.
Never dunk a child under 3 -- little kids can swallow large amounts of water, which could be dangerous. Moreover, the experience might actually increase your little one's fear of swimming.
Teach your child the safety basics by the time he's a toddler. This should include rules like not running near the pool and never going in or near the water without an adult, as well as how to reach for a pole or a line that's thrown to him if he's ever struggling in the water.
Learn to perform CPR on a child. Take a class through your local YMCA or American Red Cross chapter.
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