Summer comes and with it all the wonderful outdoor activities that kids love. Our family enjoys trips to the lake for a canoe ride and some basic splashing around. We also love picnics in the early evening in the park when all the other families are also out and the kids have their friends to play with. Inevitably someone brings a ball or some other games and the evening passes quickly. The kids also stay indoors watching TV and playing video games with their little companions. I don’t prefer too much time in the house, but they often take a break and go for a swim in the pool. Of course, that requires significant supervision by a parent. When we are not around, we ask our older kids to babysit their younger siblings. They are good swimmers and very attentive so we trust them to keep up good surveillance when the little ones are in the water. They know the house rules for swim parties and they make sure all swimmers adhere to them.
- Kids can never swim alone.
- Kids must tell an adult they intend to swim and locate one who can sit by the pool.
- Kids must adhere to safety rules in the water which includes not dunking others under in a surprise attack.
- Even when an adult or older sibling is present, swimmers must keep their eyes open and watch for any problems. No one is perfect so the more who are vigilant, the better for safety purposes.
- Kids must not scream and yell loudly. It may be mistaken for a problem.
- You can teach your kids to signal you if they are in trouble with a hand gesture.
You can see that swimmer safety is very important at our house. Anyone who owns a pool, whether it is an above ground swimming pool or an in ground one has to have rules and train their kids at an early age. While it may be tempting fate, it is okay in our book to allow older siblings to take charge if they are swimmers and have learned water safety and rescue. You are the judge about what age is sufficient to be a poolside spectator and lifeguard. The first time you, as the parent, may want to be there to discuss the rules and the importance of constant safety. There are too many pool accidents reported in the press to be too cavalier about this. Every family with a pool should have group discussions about usage and stress the prohibition of swimming alone for kids. This can be tempting for young ones who are not mature enough to judge, but the more you focus on this taboo, the greater their absorption of the rule.
Happy and safe families have fun together and apart and above all they have safety rules for whatever activity is pursued. One must always be mindful of how children can act in spontaneous ways and do what they can to prevent problems. Parental control is the key to safety when you have a swimming pool above ground or other.