Owning a backyard swimming pool is a dream for many families in Toronto, providing an oasis of relaxation and entertainment, especially in the summer months. However, with the joy of having a pool comes the responsibility of ensuring the safety of your children. Swimming pools can be a source of great fun, but they can also pose potential risks if proper precautions are not taken. To keep your kids safe and ensure they have a delightful experience in the pool, here are 12 things you should never let your kid do at the swimming pool.
12 Don’ts When Your Kids Enter Backyard Swimming Pool
1. Coming Without Sunscreen
The bright and sunny days of summer lure kids into the cool waters of the backyard swimming pool. However, the intense sun rays can cause sunburn and skin damage. Never allow your child to enter the pool without applying sunscreen. Choose from the best waterproof and broad-spectrum sunscreens having a high SPF rating to protect their delicate skin from harmful UV rays. Reapply it every few hours, especially after swimming, to maintain its effectiveness.
2. Not Wearing Floaties
Swimming can be a thrilling experience for kids, but it’s essential to remember that they might not have mastered swimming skills yet. Floatation devices, such as floaties and life jackets, provide an added layer of safety for young children. Always make sure your child wears appropriate floatation equipment, especially if they are not confident swimmers. This will give them the confidence they need to enjoy the water safely.
3. Not Drying Their Ears
After a refreshing swim, children may often resist drying their ears, viewing it as an unnecessary chore. However, not drying their ears properly can lead to a swimmer’s ear, a painful and irritating infection. Take the time to explain to your child the importance of drying their ears gently using a clean towel or tilting their head to let the water drain out. Making this part of the post-swimming routine will help avoid any discomfort.
4. Playing Near Swimming Pool Without Supervision
As a parent or guardian, your utmost attention is crucial when children are near the pool. Drowning incidents can happen quickly and silently, even in shallow water. Always designate a responsible adult as the water watcher to supervise the pool area whenever kids are present. Avoid distractions like phones or reading materials during this time to maintain vigilant supervision.
5. Sharing Goggles with Other Kids
While sharing is a valuable lesson to teach kids, sharing goggles or other personal swim gear is not advisable. This practice can spread bacteria and lead to eye infections. Teach your child the importance of using their own goggles and swim equipment to maintain good hygiene and eye health.
6. Going in the Hot Tub Unsupervised or Alone
Hot tubs can be a relaxing addition to a backyard swimming pool, but they can also pose specific risks, especially for children. The high water temperature can cause overheating, leading to dizziness or fainting. Additionally, hot tubs are usually deeper than traditional pools, making them challenging for children to manage alone. Always ensure that your child is supervised while using the hot tub.
7. Drinking Pool Water
Children may find it tempting to drink or play with pool water, but it’s essential to educate them about the dangers of ingesting it. Pool water contains chlorine and other chemicals that are not safe to drink and can cause stomach discomfort and other health issues. Encourage your child to use the designated drinking area when they need to hydrate.
8. Playing with Harmful Toys Underwater
Pool toys add an extra element of fun to swimming sessions, but not all toys are safe for underwater play. Toys with small parts or sharp edges can lead to accidents and injuries. Ensure that all pool toys are age-appropriate and specifically designed for underwater use.
9. Swimming Near Filters
Backyard swimming pool filters and drains are essential for maintaining water quality, but they can also pose a risk to swimmers, especially children. Strong suction from filters can cause entrapment and drowning incidents. Teach your child to avoid swimming near filters and drains and to be aware of the pool’s safety features.
10. Splash Around in Shallow Pool Water
Splashing is part of the fun in the pool, but it’s essential to exercise caution, especially in shallow areas. Slippery pool decks combined with energetic splashing can result in slips and falls. Encourage your child to be mindful of others around them while having fun in the water.
11. Eating While Swimming
Swimming and eating do not go hand in hand. Eating or chewing gum while swimming can lead to choking incidents, as it’s challenging to control the swallowing reflex in the water. Teach your child to have a break and eat outside the pool area to avoid any potential hazards.
12. Swimming at an Unsafe Depth
Children may sometimes overestimate their swimming abilities and venture into areas of the pool that are too deep for them to handle. This can be risky, especially if they are not confident swimmers. Always encourage your child to stay within their comfort zone and avoid going into deep water without proper supervision.
Always Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Even with all the safety measures in place, emergencies can still occur. That’s why it’s essential to have a well-defined plan ready. Make sure that everyone in the household knows how to respond to emergencies, including how to call for help, perform CPR, and use safety equipment like lifebuoys.
Train Your Kids About Backyard Swimming Pool Safety
Education is a key factor in preventing accidents and promoting pool safety. Enroll your child in swimming lessons at an early age to teach them basic water skills and build their confidence in the water. Emphasize the importance of following pool rules and demonstrate safe swimming practices by setting a good example.
Additionally, teach your child to respect and follow the instructions given by lifeguards and pool staff. Explain the meaning of pool signs and symbols so they can identify areas with specific rules or warnings.
Regular Pool Maintenance and Inspections
To ensure a safe swimming environment, regularly maintain and inspect your pool. Keep the water clean and balanced with appropriate chemicals to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Check the pool’s safety features, such as handrails, ladders, and diving boards, for any signs of wear or damage, and repair or replace them as needed.
Teach Water Safety Outside the Pool
Water safety should not be limited to backyard swimming pool areas alone. Educate your child about the potential dangers of other bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and ponds. Teach them to avoid swimming in open water without adult supervision and the importance of wearing life jackets while boating or participating in water activities.
Encourage Regular Breaks and Hydration
Swimming can be physically demanding, especially for children who may not realize they are getting tired. Encourage your child to take regular breaks and rest outside the water. Provide plenty of drinking water to keep them hydrated throughout their pool session.
Encourage Swimming Lessons for Parents
While it’s crucial for kids to learn how to swim, it’s also essential for parents and caregivers to have swimming skills and knowledge of water safety. Enroll yourself in adult swimming lessons if necessary, so you can confidently support your child in the water and handle emergencies effectively. It is unsafe to let your child enter the backyard swimming pool when nobody in the household has the necessary swimming skills or is aware of pool safety.
Educate on Diving Safety
Diving can be dangerous, especially in shallow pools or areas with unknown depths. Teach your child never to dive into unfamiliar water or water that is not deep enough. Discourage dangerous diving practices like running and diving from the poolside.
Enforce Pool Rules
Establish clear and age-appropriate pool rules for your child and enforce them consistently. Make sure your kid understands the importance of following these rules to maintain their safety and the safety of others in and around the pool.
Create a Water-Watching Schedule
If you have multiple children or a group of kids using the pool, consider creating a water-watching schedule among adults to ensure that someone is always focused on supervising the pool area. This will help prevent accidents and provide a safe swimming experience for everyone.
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