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Make a Splash – Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Poolside

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April 2, 2012

Sure, it was a mild winter. But aren’t you ready for a break from the daily grind and the chance to sit back, relax, and let your thoughts drift like the overhead clouds? Not to spoil your fantasy, but if your spring break vacation plans include spending quality time with your kids at swimming pools, daydreaming is not an option. Children can hardly wait to jump in the pool, but every pool has its dangers. Here are four things you can do to keep the little ones safe – and your mind at ease.

Assign Lifeguarding Duties

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you “actively” watch children at all times, which means being free from distractions like talking on the phone, socializing, or doing chores. If you’re vacationing with your spouse, take turns being the watcher to prevent an “I thought you were watching them” scenario. Taking shifts ensures everyone gets some down time.

Keep in Touch with Infants and Toddlers

Always be in the water and within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.”

Don’t Use Swimming Aids

Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.

Consider Swimming Lessons

Children ages one to four may be at a lower risk of drowning if they’ve had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in infants under the age of one. Of course, swimming pool safety for kids must be a year-round priority.

If you own a pool, here are four more valuable tips:

Install a Self-Latching Fence

Children are attracted to water. Put a climb-resistant fence (not chain link) on all sides of your pool. The USCPSC recommends the fences be at least four feet high with fence slats that are less than four inches apart (to prevent children from squeezing between them). Your self-latching gate should open away from the pool with the latch positioned higher than a young child can reach.

Check and Maintain the Equipment

Start with the pool’s drain and suction covers, which can entrap kids and lead to drowning. If they are missing or broken, repair them immediately and keep everyone out of the pool. For added protection, invest in a sturdy pool cover.

Set Rules for Your Kids and Yourself

For aboveground pools, always lock or remove steps or ladders to prevent access by children when the pool is not in use. Keep toys, tricycles, and electric appliances away from the pool. No diving allowed in shallow areas and no running on the pool deck. When no one is using the pool, take out all the toys and floatation devices so that curious children don’t try to reach for them.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

Have a phone close by at all times, and familiarize yourself with CPR and basic rescue procedures. If a child is missing, always look for them first in the pool or spa.

One more thing you should know if you own a pool? How it affects the liability coverage on your insurance policy. Review your policy and consider increasing your liability coverage as a safeguard against potential medical expenses or damages from a lawsuit.

Disclaimer: The author is affiliated with Allstate Car Insurance. SocialMoms was not compensated in any way for this article. This article was edited by SocialMoms staff to meet our editorial and quality guidelines.

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