31 Aug Is Your Pool Safe? (Swimming and Water Safety Skill #8)
Is Your Pool Safe?
Originally written for Bonbon Break in May, 2016.
Is your pool safe? Could it be SAFER?
Kids are buckled up from birth- they can’t even leave the hospital without a car seat. We read books and blogs and research the latest products and practices designed to protect children and keep them safe. There are so many things to think about, worry about, and obsess about. Yet, numerous pool owners don’t think twice about the potential risks. Is your family safe? Is your pool safe? There are so many different aspects of water safety you can put in place. Here are a few basics for creating a SAFER aquatic environment for your family:
- Install barriers around your pool
- Use gates and alarms
- Check your drains, covers and cleaning system for safety
- Enroll family members in swimming lessons
- Learn how to perform CPR on Infants, Children and Adults
- Provide CONSTANT SUPERVISION in and around the water by an adult that KNOWS how to swim
Every added layer of protection helps. I met an incredible group of family foundations working together to prevent drowning and entrapment at a National Drowning Prevention Alliance conference. Their courage and strength was inspiring. They have all taken the unbearable loss of a loved one and turned it into a powerful force of support and outreach. As each individual spoke about his or her own personal tragedy, I heard the same thing over and over:
“I didn’t know…”
“I had no idea…”
“If I had only known…”
“I never thought it would happen to us…”
“My son/ daughter knows not to go in the pool…”
These parents are like you. They are good people with kind hearts that want what’s best for their family. This group, Families United to Prevent Drowning, reminds me of why I do what I do to prevent drowning- so that not one more child drowns and not one more family experiences that loss. Please educate yourself and your entire family about in order to create a healthy respect for the water.
Throughout this ‘Teaching a Healthy Respect for the Water’ series, I’ve been explaining how to help your child be safe and comfortable in the water. I’m using 10 basic swimming and water safety skills, which are introduced in my children’s book, Life with Lou. So far, we’ve looked at the following…
Being able to float is so important. Once the body is calm and relaxed, the water will hold you up and you can catch your breath. This is an essential skill to learn for use in times of panic. When in doubt, float on your back. Relax. Breathe. Learning to swim is not easy. It can be physically and mentally exhausting. But that is part of learning to respect the water. You have to struggle. You have to feel what it’s like to not be able to get air. You have to panic.
Then, you relax, float and figure out the next step, which is moving through the water from Point A to Point B. Your body is like a seesaw in the water- as one end goes up, the other goes down. So, if you are floating on your back and sit up to lift your head out of the water, your feet will drop. This puts you in a vertical position and makes it difficult to pull your body through the water. Try this with your child …
SKILL #8: BACK GLIDE WITH KICKS
While helping your child back float (Skill #7), reach both hands under the legs and help him kick with straight legs to make little splashes on top of the water. Take steps backward as he kicks. Learning how to independently kick on his back will give him one more skill to be proficient in the water- one more way to get him back to safety. One more layer of protection.
You don’t know what you don’t know. In this case, you want and need to know how to keep your family safe in and around water. Start at home by practicing these swimming and water safety skills with your child and taking the Home Pool Essentials online course. Developed by the American Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, it teaches home pool owners the basics of pool and hot tub maintenance along with strategies for creating a SAFER environment. Empower yourself with this knowledge- your family deserves it. Preview the 2-hour online course TODAY!