Pool safety is an important summer concern. I give everyone I know this important parenting advice every summer based on something we experienced.
Years ago, when Pork Chop was a toddler he fell into the pool. He was not alone outside by the pool. In fact, he was surrounded by at least 10 adult family members who were arrayed around the pool chatting, barbecuing, and eating.
With superhuman speed, the Hubs, who was at the other end of the pool when it happened, was in the water scooping Pork Chop out before anyone else could even blink. (Thank God for that.)
Pork Chop was not unsupervised. A family member had volunteered to watch him for a bit while Daddy barbecued and I was in the house prepping food.
The mistake that was made was an easy one to make when you are in a large group of family members or friends. The family member in charge of Pork Chop that day walked to the other end of the pool to grab something. (We have a large pool.)
There were people everywhere so someone would stop Pork Chop if he was too close to the edge, right? Well, no. Nobody noticed that he was too close to the edge until they heard splash–made by my husband jumping in after him.
He could have hit his head on the cement side of the pool or the cement steps. Luckily, he didn’t.
He could have been a victim of secondary drowning, which is uncommon, but can occur an hour or so after a near drowning water incident. But he wasn’t.
Parents are advised to keep a close eye on children who have had a water incident for 24-48 hours. If coughing, chest pain, fatigue, or difficulty breathing doesn’t get better in that time, then the National Institute of Health suggests that medical attention be promptly sought. It is especially urgent to get your child to the doctor if the symptoms are not there right after the near drowning but show up later…even 24 hours later.
The truth is that when adults are socializing a short toddler can be overlooked. When children are running around at a loud boisterous party, we can’t assume every child is accounted for–which is why we always have a little person paired with a big person. It isn’t a job.
What aunt or uncle doesn’t want to be the one following the toddler around for a few minutes?! We did that right but forgot that Pork Chop’s uncle wasn’t a parent (yet) so didn’t realize that he actually had to be right next to him by the pool. He was watching from about 10 feet away. (He’s a dad now and learned a lesson that day, for sure!)
Here are a few more pool safety tips:
Always assign an adult to be “lifeguard” at a private pool, who shouldn’t drink alcohol–a designated diver.
Only swim where lifeguards are present .
Always watch closely when children are swimming.
Never let a child or teen swim alone.
He wasn’t hurt physically but the experience did affect him emotionally. It took him four years to get over his intense fear of the pool. (He’s so over it now and would live in the pool if we let him.)
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The first year, we couldn’t get him to come in the water at all. The second year and third years, he would only go in if wrapped around my neck like a spider monkey hanging on for dear life. Around 5 years old he began to be more comfortable. We got him a puddle jumperand he would frolic in the shallow end.
Last year, he really got more comfortable in the water and swims like a little fish. It’s his favorite thing to do! But it took years for him to get over that fear. Years of being in the pool almost every single day in the summer.
What pool safety tips do you have?
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Fun games for the pool:Water Volleyball Basketball
My favorite pool clarifier: Pool First Aid