Memorial Day has come and gone, and for most residents of Missouri and Illinois that means swimming pool season is in full swing. Whether you belong to the local rec center or have a pool of your own, the odds are that you will be spending at least a few days this summer by the water, breathing in the smell of fresh chlorine while you battle encroaching sunburn. Swimming is a great way to beat the heat of the summer, but pools can also be incredibly dangerous, especially for children. However, if you follow these safe swimming tips, you can make sure your whole family enjoys the water this summer.
8 Safe Swimming Tips
Having a pool of your own can be wonderful. You don’t have to deal with crowds and you can go for a quick swim whenever you want. There are lots of backyard pools to choose from, including big in-ground pools, above ground pools that can be taken down in the winter and shallow wading pools. No matter what kind of pool you may have (or even if you go to the public pool), you should always follow these tips to keep your family safe this summer:
- Invest in swimming lessons. One of the most important things you can do to keep your family safe around pools isn’t to keep kids out of the water, but to get them into it! Most children are ready for lessons at around four, but some start even earlier.
- Save the sunbathing for later, swim with your kids! Most of what keeps kids safe is a watchful parent ready to step in when the situation calls for it. Even in public swimming pools with lifeguards, you should swim with your child until he or she is 10 – but only if he or she is a strong swimmer and can reach the bottom of the pool.
- Water wings aren’t enough. Inner tubes and water wings aren’t reliable enough to prevent drowning accidents on their own. If your child cannot swim or is not a strong swimmer, a life jacket may be helpful in deep water, or if you are taking a trip to a lake or the ocean.
- Obey pool rules, like no running. Sometimes pool accidents happen when you aren’t even in the water. The area around swimming pools is almost always damp and can create a slipping hazard. Kids should always walk to the edge of the pool and follow any other pool guidelines set up by you or the lifeguards.
- Maybe get rid of the wading pool. Shallow wading pools are inexpensive and can be a good way to splash with your kids for a few hours. But many studies have shown that they can be incredibly dangerous as well, as young children have been known to drown in just one inch of water. If you have one, always drain it at the end of the day and store it out of the reach of children.
- Have fencing all the way around your pool. If you are a lucky pool owner, fencing is important to keep children (yours and your neighbors’) from wandering into the water when you aren’t looking. You should make sure the fence is sturdy and high enough that more adventurous youngsters can’t climb over it.
- Don’t leave toys drifting. Children may try to lean over the edge of the pool to rescue a stranded toy, which could result in them falling in. In other words, don’t make the pool look too tempting!
- Move ladders and get pool covers. Just to make absolutely, 100 percent sure a child can’t get into your pool without you knowing about it, remove ladders leading to above-ground pools and get covers for in-ground pools.
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