I want to let my kids to really enjoy pool time, and generally they do. But I have to set a few boundaries to keep them safe at times, and they don’t like that so much. It’s a blessing when kids are active and healthy, but at times, it’s tough to wrangle them into safe behaviors at the pool. Here are some issues I’ve had to address:
Constant supervision is a must. If my kids are in the water, I’m watching them. When they were younger, that meant I was holding them, at all times. No exceptions. It sounds simple, but when a child decided this was his day to explore and spread his wings, he wasn’t always so great with all the holding. That’s when I had to accept that he just wasn’t going to like it, but that’s the way it had to be.
The pool rules – rule. As my kids have gotten a bit older, they continually want to explore new things at the pool. When they got old enough to use the diving board, we had a minor power struggle about – you guessed it – running at the pool. It doesn’t take long for a child to slip on a wet deck and really hurt themselves. We’ve had a few “timeouts” issued over running at the pool. The privilege of owning a pool means my kids can enjoy playing in it. The responsibility for keeping them safe is mine. Here is some great information I found about pool safety for the kids:
We maintain the pool area. Kids want to play in the pool, and not be concerned about “is the pool safe?” As parents, that is our concern. We installed a fence with a locking gate and an alarm to make sure no one went into the pool when we weren’t there. We installed a safety measure called and anti-entrapment device on the drain and pump system – if a blockage was detected, it would shut off the pump. We bought a small shed with a lock to store chemicals, and make sure the kids weren’t around when we added chemicals to the pool.
Pool alarms. I’ve heard the concept of alarms for the pool as “layers of protection.” The concept means don’t just think because you have a fence around the pool, it is protected. Install multiple alarms, with different functions. The gate on the fence should have an alarm which sounds if someone tries to access it without permission. A surface alarm on the pool will sound if waves are detected, like from a child falling in. We added audible alarms on the back door of the house, and on several windows which had access to the pool area.
Pool toys aren’t safety devices. A pool toy is a lot of fun for a child, but we don’t rely on one as a lifesaver. Floaties or an inner tube aren’t rated to provide that protection, and can be a problem if relied on too much. As well, especially when the kids were young, we made sure we got all the pool toys out of the water and stored away – removing any temptation for one of our kids to try to get to that toy which was so much fun earlier.
Swimming lessons. I read a lot about swimming lessons, and most sources indicate around 4 years old as the best time to start lessons. One resource said flatly that the best way to avoid accidental drowning was swimming lessons, so we signed our kids up when it was time.
It continues to be one of my most rewarding activities to spend time with my kids at the pool. I smile and relax, knowing I am providing them with a safe swimming environment.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her best friend and lives in Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking, biking and enjoy nature. She just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.