My two boys love few things more than swimming in their grandparents’ pool. Neither of my boys have ever been afraid of the water, which might seem like a good thing. But for this momma, it is TERRIFYING. I knew very early on that in order for us to be able to enjoy the pool, my boys would need to start learning safety rules as soon as possible. After all, drowning is the number two cause of accidental death among children, and more than 1,500 children are killed in water-related accidents each year. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is a well-respected and amazing swim instructor, so she has (for years) been teaching me proper techniques and tips for keeping children safe in the water.
Everyone in the Family Should Learn to Swim
If you do not feel comfortable in the water, or if you do not know how to swim, you should take lessons. Crawfish Aquatics and the YMCA both teach private lessons for adults. Additionally, children as young as three-years-old can learn important safety rules, such as how to swim to safety if they are pushed in the pool at a birthday party.
In addition to swimming lessons, frequent exposure to the pool can be very beneficial. While my two-year-old did not take swimming lessons this year, he has been in the pool a number of times. His skill level has drastically improved over the course of a month just from allowing him to get in the pool once or twice a week.
Children Should Be Supervised at All Times
Children are going to be children. The younger ones especially have zero concept of risk, so it is our job as parents to supervise our children at all times and make sure that they are safe. I was recently at a pool party and a three-year-old boy jumped right into the deep end with no floaties on. Thankfully, his parents were right there beside him and had not taken their eyes off of him. The little boy’s father jumped in right after him and brought him to safety. Furthermore, children who have had completed the beginner levels of swimming lessons are at a great risk for drowning because, while they have a little bit of knowledge, they do not have the skills to match their confidence levels.
Parents, keep your eyes peeled while your children are swimming! This is especially important when you are at a social event or having a phone conversation. It is very easy to get distracted and not pay attention to your children swimming in the pool. Make sure that your children stay away from drains, pipes, or other pool openings.
Teach Your Children Safety Rules
My boys love to wrestle each other. And while this can be a fun activity for them to do in the home, children should keep their hands off of each other in the pool. Wrestling, pushing, and pulling should be greatly discouraged. Furthermore, children need to always keep their eyes out for other children when entering the pool, especially if they are jumping in or diving off of the diving board.
- Learn CPR.
- Keep a cell phone near the pool, so that you can easily call 911 in the case of an emergency.
- Keep toys out of the pool when not in use. These can easily attract young children to the pool.
Our family loves to swim. While swimming can indeed be dangerous, it is surely not something that we should avoid or discourage our children to do out of fear. Knowing how to swim is an important, life-saving skill that every person in the family should be able to do as early as possible. Enjoy the pool this summer…just do it safely!!!!