Talk to Your Kids about Pool Safety


It’s always a good time to reinforce safety measures around the pool.

By Tim Murphy

 

For kids, spending time in and around swimming pools is often on the top of their list for ways to cool down during the hot summer months. This also means a higher likelihood of accidents and injuries related to swimming — many of which can easily be avoided by following a few basic pool safety standards.

It’s important for parents and other adults responsible for a child’s safety to articulate the importance of pool safety to children so they not only will retain the information, but also apply it. They should never think of pool safety as a chore, but a sensible responsibility.

Make Pool Safety Personal

Many child psychologists suggest that personalizing safety messages to children helps them retain that information. Let’s say that your child is a big sports’ fan. A great way to incorporate this into pool safety is to explain the importance of two common sport’s attributes: teamwork and taking frequent breaks. These encourage kids never to swim alone and to know when to take a time out.

Swim with a Peer:No one should ever swim alone. By explaining to a young sports’ fan that his favorite teams work together on the field and court, it’ll personalize this message and establish a good habit for him to follow in the pool.

Take Frequent Breaks: A common cause of swimming-related accidents is fatigue. Talk to your little sports’ fan about how even the best players rest up.

Utilize Technology and Games

The internet can be a very useful tool. Because most children learn how to use computers and technology at a very young age and are attracted to games, why not use this to help train them about pool safety?

Several cool online games and apps are available to help children learn the importance of pool safety through interactive platforms. You can find them at PoolSafety.gov. This website provides free tips and tools to help teach children of many age groups about pool safety. They also have easy-to-download kid activity coloring posters and a few mobile apps so kids can play related games.

Beyond web technology, there are also a few live-action games that you can play with children to teach them about water safety. For instance,"red light, green light teaches children to follow directions and listen to whistles (commonly used in public swimming pools by lifeguards).

Lead by Example

When it comes to pool safety, many of us adults are guilty of pushing the boundaries of the rules we establish for our kids. Instead, set a good example:

No horseplay around the pool:This is especially true when we have lots of people over who might bring their older children to the pool for fun. If you invite people over and there are young, impressionable children around, don’t be afraid to set some guidelines upfront.

Keep the pool area free of hazards: We teach our kids to pick up their pool toys so they don’t trip; make sure to follow the same advice with pool equipment, chairs, floaters, and other potential hazards. Use only paper and plastic cups and plates around the pool, never glass or ceramic.

Practice strokes: Children need to gain confidence in their swimming abilities but may be too shy to practice with friends, afraid they’ll look silly. Get in the water with them and practice together. They’ll gain strength and confidence while you will spend quality time together.

Make Safety a Priority

Keep necessary safety equipment in your pool area. Avoid running or other bad habits that may contribute to your child taking unnecessary risks.

   First Aid Kit:Accidents can happen. A first aid kit provides the essentials for addressing minor issues.

   Scissors:In case you need to cut clothing, hair or a pool cover, keep a sturdy pair of scissors nearby.

   Flotation Device: In case someone is in distress in the water, a flotation device should always be accessible.

   Phone:A fully charged phone should always be available in case you need to dial 9-1-1.

The key to keeping our children safe is having the ability to clearly articulate the importance of pool safety in a way that not only registers with them, but also keeps pool safety top of mind while they are having fun.

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Tim Murphy is the founder and CEO of Presidential Pools, Spas, and Patio, the nation's largest pool builder, based in Arizona.