The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an average of two children drown each day in America, meaning it’s critically important for you as a parent to keep your child safe when they’re playing around water.1 Setting some ground rules for your child, ensuring that they never swim alone or unsupervised, and bringing the right gear to the beach are all great ways to enforce water safety for kids.
Here are some more details on ground rules to improve your kids’ pool safety.
Walk—Never Run—at the Pool
Lifeguards will blow their whistles at your kids if they’re scampering around the pool because it’s easy to slip and fall on wet surfaces. While most slips result in minor bumps and bruises, your child could hit their head and be knocked unconscious in a serious fall. Teach your kids about pool safety, and make sure they know to walk around the pool and save the horsing around for a safer environment.
Establish a Buddy System
If your kids are old enough to want a little independence, set up a buddy system with friends. Make sure your kids know that they’re in charge of looking out for one another and alerting an adult immediately if something happens.
When Possible, Keep Kids in Lifeguarded Areas
Swimming within an area patrolled by lifeguards means help won’t ever be too far away and professional eyes are always watching out for your little ones. Lifeguards undergo rigorous training to receive their certification. Depending on area requirements, some trainees learn to dive 10–12 feet underwater and retrieve a 10-pound weight. Many also have to tread water for two minutes and easily swim 300–500 yards without fatiguing. Suffice to say, lifeguards are well trained to rescue people in distress and enforce pool safety rules.
Have Goggles Handy
If your child slips underwater at the lake, it could be murky. Always keep goggles on hand so you can find your child quickly and easily in the water.
Use Water Safety Devices for Kids
There’s no such thing as being too safe around water. Consider buying some of the following water safety supplies to keep your kids secure when playing in the ocean, pool, or lake.
- Floaties: Children can drown in as little as just a few inches of water, so when you’re by the pool or a lake, it’s critical to follow proper water safety protocol. Read labels carefully before buying arm floaties or flotation devices for your kids so you bring home the safest option.
- Life Jackets: Talk to your kids about why it’s important for them to wear life jackets—even if they may seem silly. You never know when a water emergency may happen, so it’s smart to be prepared.
- Pool Alarms: Pool safety alarms come in many different styles: some monitor motion on the water’s surface, while others detect if a pool gate has been opened. Whether an animal, neighbor, or your child ventures into the pool area unsupervised you’ll know about it.
- Pool Gates, Nets, and Covers: Most states have laws about fencing off pools, but even if yours doesn’t, you should still install a fence or secure pool cover at your home. Verify that whatever option you choose is able to bear enough weight to keep your child safe.
- Drain Covers: Drains use suction to siphon water into the filter for cleaning. If your child swims near a drain, they could get stuck. Buy a drain cover that keeps hair, bathing suits, and body parts out.
- Wearable Alarm Bracelets: You can buy a GPS bracelet for your kids and set safe perimeter zones around the pool. That way, if they get too close to the water, you’ll get an alert so you can save them from danger.
When you head to the pool, child safety should be a top priority. Check out our list of water safety products to find a few devices that could save your child’s life.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts”