For many children, playing in and around the pool is the most enjoyable part of summer but not every child is quite as strong a swimmer as Canadian Olympic Swimmer Amélie Kretz.
Our current COVID-19 reality presents new and unique challenges for pool safety. Kids are active and parents are working from home! There are no summer camps or childcare… many parents are left to be full-time parent and full-time employee.
To keep our population safe this summer, kids will be unable to host friends in their backyard, go to the park or do all the other things that make being a kid fun. At the same time, many parents do not want to see their children lose their summer to video games and phones.
If your kids are one of the lucky ones on the block with their own pool, we have some pool safety tips and ideas to help keep your kids safe while splashing around in the pool this summer.
Don’t rely on your own awareness
Maybe you have set your workstation up at the kitchen table in earshot of the pool or maybe you’ve set up on your back deck under an umbrella. Being close to the pool is great to quickly respond to any issues but it is not fool proof. We all have experienced times of heightened concentration (your spouse may ask a question which you don’t hear) or you may be putting earbuds in for that next Zoom meeting. Being by the pool is excellent but it does not equal pool safety for your children.
Softly mandate the Sibling Buddy System & make sure they tell their parents first
Your children are strong swimmers and you feel comfortable with their ability enough to play in the pool without you around? This summer, siblings will be asked to be close buddies too. Make sure one sibling is never in the pool without their ‘sibling buddy’ while mom and dad are trying to work.
Set your child’s “Swim within your limit” boundaries
Once a child is in the pool, the whole world can disappear. For some children, going beyond the shallow end of the pool may put him or her at risk.
Show all the pool hazards
Skimmers, pool drains, filters and drains are all active hazards that can change a world in an instant. Filters pull water out of the pool, into the drain and back into the pump. Drains with strong suction can hold someone underwater which could lead to the worst outcome.
*Super Safety Tip* Child with long hair? Make sure they promise to have it tied up before swimming… or better yet make a swimming cap mandatory when there are no adults around the pool to supervise.
Make sure kids stay away from underwater traps
A common fun game to play in a pool is ‘how long can you hold your breath?’ To get extra leverage, kids will utilize the ladder in the deep end to make it easier to stay down. That ladder can quickly turn into an underwater trap if a child gets caught swimming under it or wrapping their arms around it.
No wrestling while mommy’s working!
Play fighting in the pool can be a lot of fun. Water reduces impact and splashing is a great equalizer. In a moment, without an adult around, play fighting could result in something worse, like a head injury. Our advice. Make it a house rule that there if there are no parents around there is no play fighting in the pool.
It’s cool to be safe
Many parents had to cut swimming lessons short or were unable to put their kids into swimming in the first place. If you end up being part-time swim instructor as well (for your own children of course), there are many videos to help you. You may have a child who is a fine swimmer but not the strongest or most confident. Since they are only going to be in the pool with their siblings this year, they don’t have to worry about being cool. Life jackets or arm flotation devices can be mandatory to swim when parents are not around. And if they practice enough this year, they’ll be super strong and confident swimmers with all their friends next year.
If you have any additional tips, creating ideas for pool games or have children drawing their dream pool experience, please send them in.
*Feature image credit: Olivia K. of Ajax, Ontario. Thank you Olivia!