I was 10 years old the summer I almost drowned. We were playing chicken and I insisted that my younger sister get on my shoulders so we could fight the other team. Inevitably I drifted into the deep and didn’t come back up for at least eight minutes. Scared kids called for help.
A quick thinking father called 911, dove in to get me out of the pool and saved my life. After two weeks in the hospital, I was back at home again taking swim lessons. But I learned an important lesson, I wasn’t following the rules and I almost paid the price with my life.
The other day at my sister’s neighborhood, there was an accident and they had to shut the pool down for the rest of the day. Two brothers were playing around and one jumped into the pool on top of the other one. They were playing tag by the pool and the oldest jumped into the pool to get away from the younger one but the younger one went right in after him.
The oldest began spouting blood turning which quickly began spreading in the pool. He suffered from a broken nose and a cut above his eye that needed stitches. I used this a teaching moment for my children who love to engage in horseplay around the pool. This was definitely an eye opener for them.
As far as I am concerned, you can never take too many precautions when it comes to pool safety.
“As a parent of young children, I know there’s no single, sure-fire way to ensure their safety around pools and spas,” says Janet Evans, five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. “Whether it’s enrolling them in swimming lessons or simply watching them at all times, there is always one more thing I can do.”
Here are some tips to help you and your kids swim safely this summer.
1. Know the rules and enforce them.
Whether you have your own pool or swim in a community pool, knowing and following the rules is one of the best things that you can do in ensure safe swimming.
Kids should know that roughhousing or running should not be tolerated at any pool. When any of my children break a rule, they know that there are consequences. They sit in time out or sometimes if the offense is serious enough or keeps happening, we just go home and leave the pool immediately.
2. Learn to Swim.
All three of my children take swim lessons. The two older take them to become stronger swimmers and my youngest takes them to get over her fear of the water. Learning to swim means that your children will comfortable in the water and it could save their lives.
3. Put a fence around it. Put an alarm on it.
One of the biggest safety hazards of a pool is when it is not fenced in. Unsupervised children can fall in and drown. Putting a fence with a safety gate around your pool and an alarm can prevent tragedies like this from happening.
4. Swim together.
All kids should use the buddy system when it comes to swimming. No one likes to play alone, anyway and for kids, having a friend to swim with also means that there is safety in numbers.
5. Watch your children at all times.
This seems like an obvious tip but I spend a lot of time each week at our neighborhood pool and although we have a lifeguard, I am also always watching my children. The lifeguard is simply my backup rather than my babysitter. I know what my kids are doing at all times.
6. Check the equipment.
I had no idea until doing the research for this article that drain and drain covers cause a lot of injuries each to the children who are playing with them. We routinely check all of the equipment at our pool including looking for loose pieces of concrete, uncovered drains and any other safety hazards.
7. Learn CPR.
Learning CPR can be important when it comes to saving the life of someone in many situations including drowning in a pool. That quick thinking father performed CPR on my until the paramedics arrived to take over. He saved my life. Although I will never be able to thank him enough, I happily renew my CPR certification every time it expires in his honor. He deserves it and so do my children.
The Pool Safely campaign from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) “delivers an important and simple message: just adding an extra safety step in and around the water can make all the difference. Your greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and practicing as many water safety measures as possible, including: barriers that completely surround the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates; staying close, being alert, and watching children at the pool; learning and practicing water safety skills (knowing how to swim and perform CPR); and having the appropriate equipment (compliant drain covers, alarms, barriers and sensors).”
My kids know what happened to me as a child and they understand how serious I am when it comes to pool safety. They also know that they better take the rules seriously as well. Swim safely!
Read more from Stacie on her blog: The Divine Miss Mommy
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