With the warm weather upon us it's important to remember these basic guidelines when it comes to young children and swimming pools.
Supervision is best when it is on a one-to-one basis between child and adult. Make up your own set of inflexible pool rules and insist that everyone -child or adult- follows them. Rules number one and two should be that there is NO RUNNING around the pool and no roughhousing.
- NEVER leave a child in the pool alone. In fact, don't take your eyes off the child. Drowning can occur in a matter of seconds.
- And don't drink alcoholic beverages while you are watching children. You can't afford to have your reflexes impaired.
- Wait to take an infant in a pool until he or she has good head control. Submerging an infant's face in water is questionable. It's true a baby will automatically hold his or her breath but a baby will also swallow water. Too much swallowed water can lead to water intoxication and other problems.
- Don't trust "drown-proofing" swimming lessons to protect your child. 25% of children who drown have had at least some lessons. Panic can overtake even a good swimmer under some situations.
- Install a safety line where the water deepens and past which your child knows NOT to go.
- Don't rely on any of the various inflatable devices available to keep your child safe. Most can be punctured or deflated and are not designed to keep a child's head above water.
- Never allow ride-on wheel toys of any kind in the pool area. Don't leave toys or other objects in the pool when you're through for the day. A child may be attracted to them and try to go after them.
- Get everybody out of the pool immediately at the first sign of a thunderstorm.