Swimming is high up on the list of fun things to do during the summer. It’s a great way to cool off and stay refreshed throughout the dog days of the summer months when the Atlanta humidity and high temperatures make it very unpleasant to be outside. Although swimming is tons of fun, it also comes with lots of risks. Whether you’ve got your own pool or you take your kids to the neighborhood pool, it’s important to teach your kids swimming safety and to keep an eye on them. We’ll go over some pool safety tips to help you keep your young charges from getting hurt when they’re swimming.
Check out these swimming safety tips:
1. Have your kids take age-appropriate swim lessons.
Sign your children up for swimming lessons taught by a qualified teacher. If your kids are comfortable in the water, they can become strong swimmers. Plus, you’ll give yourself some peace of mind, too, knowing that your kids know how to swim and that they’ve had plenty of practice.
2. Never leave a child unsupervised around water.
This is a swimming safety essential.
Children should never be unsupervised around water. Make sure that you or a trusted grown-up is keeping an eye on the kids at all times. If you’re responsible for supervising, avoid any distractions and keep your attention on the kids. Stay alert for any signs of trouble. Small children should be kept within arm’s reach.
To help you keep track of the kids, teach them to ask permission to go in the water. They should know that they have to ask you before they get in the pool so that you’re aware. They need to know that they can’t swim unless you say it’s okay.
3. Lay down some ground rules.
If you’re planning a day at the pool, lay down some ground rules ahead of time. The pool itself probably has some posted rules, which your kids need to follow, but you might want to take some time to go over them and set some rules of your own. For example…
- No playing around the filters, grates, or drains.
- No running.
- No breath-holding contests.
- No diving in shallow water.
- Ask permission before getting in the water.
- No roughhousing.
4. Use the buddy system.
Nobody should swim alone. Teach kids to swim together and have a swim buddy. Although children need to be supervised by adults, not other children, you can still establish a buddy system and ask them to look out for each other.
5. Make sure there’s a certified lifeguard.
Swim only where there is a qualified lifeguard. Lifeguards are great. They know a lot of stuff that could come in handy if there’s an emergency.
6. Check that life jackets are US-Coast Guard approved.
If you have young kids who need to wear life jackets or other swim safety accessories, check that the life jackets are US-Coast Guard approved. And remember, don’t rely on only the life jacket – you still have to keep swimming safety in mind. Kids still need appropriate supervision and shouldn’t go in water that’s too deep for them.
7. If a child is missing, check the water first.
Should a child go missing, check the water first. Don’t waste any time. In drowning situations, every bit of time counts.
8. Keep an eye on the weather.
As you can imagine, thunder and lightning and swimming pools don’t mix well. If you hear thunder or see lightning, everyone needs to get out of the water for thirty minutes. If there’s another flash of lightning or another boom of thunder, start the thirty minutes over again. This is a severe thunderstorm safety must.
(Oh, and speaking of weather – well, sunshine – don’t forget to wear sunscreen and protect your family from the sun.)
Safety tips for your home swimming pool…
If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it’s your responsibility to make it as safe as possible. Keep the following tips in mind.
1. Keep the pool secure.
Make sure that you prevent people (and children) from getting to your pool without your permission. Swimmers should never be unsupervised, so you need to make sure that no one swims without your knowledge.
To lock up your pool…
- Have a fence that’s at least 4 feet high around the entire pool area.
- Have gates that are self-closing and self-locking. The gates should open away from the pool.
- Make sure any latches or locks are well out of the reach of kids.
- Clear away the area around the fence so there’s nothing anyone could use as stairs to climb over it.
- If you have an above-ground pool, be sure to remove the ladder and cover the pool when it’s not being used.
2. Make sure that your fence is sturdy.
If your fence or gate is broken or has a hole in it, that doesn’t exactly make your pool very secure. You have to properly maintain your pool – if you don’t and the lack of maintenance allows something bad to happen, your insurance claim could be denied.
3. Learn first-aid and CPR.
To be responsible for the pool, it’s a good idea to get proper training. Consider getting lifeguard certified, first-aid certified, and CPR-certified. Be prepared for emergencies by getting the right training.
4. Clean the pool.
Pools can get icky and germy. Check out the following tips for keeping your pool clean.
- Change the filters in the pool when needed.
- Treat the pool with the proper chemicals and follow the instructions carefully. Store the chemicals properly.
- Don’t allow anyone to drink the water.
- Don’t allow pets in the water.
- Don’t let people swim if they have wounds or if they’re sick.
- Make sure all babies wear appropriate swim diapers.
5. Have swimming safety equipment in an easily-accessible place.
Keep life jackets and floatation devices near the pool. It’s also a good idea to have a phone by the pool so you can call 911 if there’s an injury or if there’s a drowning incident.
6. Get the right insurance coverage for your pool.
If you’ve got a pool, you need to have enough property and liability insurance to fully protect you from the risks that come along with it. You need to let your agent know if you’re thinking of having a pool installed. You may also want to think about getting personal umbrella insurance to add liability insurance to protect yourself from any potential lawsuits.
If you’re planning on swimming this summer, it’s important that you keep everyone safe. Pool safety is a must if you and your family are going to be around the water to beat the Atlanta heat. Minimize the chances of injury or drowning by employing the above swimming safety tips.
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