Information in this post can be found at www.poolsafely.gov
Are swimming pools safe?  This is a question that is on the minds of many parents around the country.  When it comes to children, you can never be too careful.  It is our jobs as parents to make sure that our little bundles of joy remain safe and happy.  So, it is normal to be a little apprehensive when it comes to swimming pools, especially if it is a situation where they will be going to a friend’ s house to swim.  Obviously, there is a potential hazard in any activity with water involved.  However, the pool itself is not to blame for accidents that may occur.  The pool has no intentions of doing anything other than just being a large puddle of water.  The question is, are your children in a position to remain safe at a pool?  This question can be answered by asking a few follow up questions.  Who will be supervising my kids?  Are they responsible?  Will the adults be drinking?  (This may seem like an unnecessary question, but think about how many weekend pool parties/ cookouts where there is alcohol present.)  Do the adults know CPR?  Do they have safety equipment readily available?  How many people will be there?  These are all valid questions and if there is any doubt to any of these questions then maybe allowing your children to go is not in their best interests.

I am a new father, and maybe I am just too protective of my son, but I am at a point where I will become visually upset if something should happen to him that could have easily been prevented.  I just don’t like seeing him upset.  When we took him to get some shots for the first time, I was not very happy.  I understand that it is what’s best for him, but man, that scream he let out was the worst sound that I have ever heard.  You had better believe that if he is ever invited to a pool party that is not at my house when he is older, I will be asking every single one of these questions, and probably a full background check of the parents.  Well, maybe not to that extent, but I will have definitely have to meet them first.  In any event, if I am not sure of something he will not be going or I will be accompanying him.  I have been around swimming pools my entire life and I understand first hand the importance of knowing how to swim.  When I was young my family was on vacation and at a hotel with a pool.  I knew how to swim a little, but when I accidentally jumped into the deep end of the pool and couldn’t touch the bottom I started to panic and inhaled a bunch of water, followed by another huge breath of water.  Luckily, there was a
man nearby who saw me struggling and pulled me from the water.  I think that experience is why I am so concerned about my own sons well being.

The first thing I will do is teach him how to swim.  I think that is a very important skill to have, and I am always shocked when I come across an adult who can’t swim.  When the time comes that my son wants to go swimming, he will be supervised by a responsible adult who understands that until my son is back on solid ground, their only job is to keep an eye on him.
That means that my son will not be watched by some teenager playing with their iPhone, and he will not be watched by an adult who has spent the afternoon drinking beer with their neighbors.  While it is not a good idea for the one supervising to be on their phone looking at Facebook or Twitter or any other social media site, it is important that a phone be close by in case of an emergency.  That way they can call for help without having to leave the pool area.  I would ask how many people will be there simply, because if there will be a lot of kids in attendance then it becomes more difficult for the supervisor to keep a close eye on everyone.  That is why larger public pool typically have several life guards.

 

It is also important to have safety equipment readily available.  These items include things like a Shepard’s hook, flotation device that can be thrown and retrieved, and life jackets.

That last one there is really important to me.  Young children should always wear a life jacket in the pool.  They are designed for safety, and to keep people’s heads above water.  Things like those foam noodles, or “boogie boards” as we call them, or even “water wings” are not adequate for safety.  Life jackets are the way to go.  I place a lot of importance on knowing CPR, especially if you have children.  I also want to point out that seeing CPR done on T.V. or in a movie is not adequate.  Take the time to take a class and get certified.  There are major differences in the way CPR is administered between a small child and an adult.  Stay up to date on your certification too.

So are swimming pools safe?  I think that with the proper amount of precaution and education, enjoying a swimming pool is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.  Swimming pools are not dangerous unless we let them be.  The danger comes with not being prepared to properly use and enjoy the pool.  If you have a pool make sure you also have safety equipment available, keep a phone nearby, stay alert and focused, know CPR, and teach your children how to swim.  This post is not intended to scare anyone.  I just wanted to inform people that there are additional precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk involved with swimming pools.  I love swimming, I have been around pools my entire life, and my son will be too.  I will take the proper preemptive actions to keep him safe and I would suggest that you do the same for your loved ones.  I want everyone to have a very enjoyable summer (if it ever gets here).  Swimming pools make memories, and bring families together so enjoy them and as always be safe.

For more information regarding pool safety please visit http://www.poolsafely.gov/

 

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