Summer is fast approaching, which means many of us will be heading to the pool to have fun and enjoy exercise in the warm weather. Unfortunately, we do see a spike in drownings around summertime, particularly amongst children and teens. So if you are spending time in or around a pool this summer, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of important pool and water safety tips.
Here, we provide our top tips to stay safe when swimming in a pool. Discover swimming pool dangers and other things to be mindful of when around swimming pools with children. Let’s all have a safe and fun summer!
Active Adult Supervision
The most important way to keep children and teenagers safe in and around the pool is to ensure they are actively supervised by an adult.
Children under the age of 5 should always be within arm’s reach around water and never left unattended. It’s not enough to just have your child within line of sight. Drowning can happen extremely quickly (within 20 seconds), so being within an arm’s reach of your child means you’re in a better position to act fast and help them before drowning can occur.
For children 10 and older, you must still actively supervise them. Ensure they are clearly visible at all times and that you are not too far away so that you can directly access them if needed.
Child-proof Safety Barrier and Pool Toys
It’s important that home swimming pools and spas are fenced or have a childproof safety barrier. In fact, it’s illegal for them not to. A pool fence needs to be at least 1.2m high and must completely surround the pool. The gate should swing outward, away from the pool, and have a child proof lock mechanism that automatically latches when it swings shut.
Always be vigilant to ensure the pool gate has latched shut each time anyone enters or exits the area. Never prop the gate open and be careful that objects aren’t lying around that could cause the gate to not close properly – towels for example. Also ensure there is nothing near the fence a child could use to climb over, such as chairs, tables or toys. Lastly, check there aren’t any gaps under or in the fence that a child could climb under or through.
While safe barriers do save lives, it is not the only measure we need to take to keep children safe around the pool. It’s also important to not leave anything lying around the pool which could cause an accident. Pool toys are a common culprit. Although they can bring hours of entertainment for the whole family, it isn’t fun to trip over them – especially if you trip into the pool! Make sure you (and the kids) pack away any toys or equipment.
Home Pool Hazardous Chemicals
Did you know that the chemicals used to clean home pools are hazardous? It’s important to keep pool chemicals out of the view and reach of children to avoid any accidents. Better yet, keep them locked away with childproof locks. When you are using the chemicals, always follow the directions on the label and don’t add more chemicals into the pool than required as this could cause skin and eye irritation. And that’s no fun!
Take a First Aid Course and Learn CPR
If you have a pool at home, it’s a great idea to do a first aid course and learn CPR. Many organisations around Australia provide CPR training, such as the Red Cross and St John Ambulance. First aid courses will equip you with potentially lifesaving skills if anyone gets into trouble in the water. Remember to update your first aid skills every three years to keep your knowledge and skills fresh in your mind.
A very important tip (not just for kids but everyone!) is to remember to pop on sunscreen every time you go outside. Putting on sunscreen around 30 minutes before you head out into the water will ensure it’s soaked into your skin and can keep you protected from the sun. If you’re outside of the water, don’t forget to cover up those shoulders and put on a hat. You can also set up a shaded area, such as with an umbrella. This is a great addition to any outdoor pool setting!
Teaching Your Kids Water Safety Skills
Teaching your children water safety skills is an investment of time you won’t regret. Spend time with your child in water, having fun and engaging in water play. This is a great way to help your child feel comfortable in the water and build their confidence. It also provides an opportunity to speak to your child about water safety in an active way and in a range of locations like pools, baths and beaches.
Another way to get your child started with learning about swimming safety is with swimming lessons. Kingswim offers a range of swimming lessons for babies from 12 weeks upwards and toddlers, as well as older children. During our lessons, your child can become familiar with water and learn key water safety skills that will help them throughout their life. No matter your child’s age and swimming experience, we have a program to suit them.