Whether they’re toddlers, mid-size models or teen versions, kids and swimming pools go together like milk and cookies. Regardless of the ages of your kids, you can ensure that everyone stays safe in and around your pool all season long. Read on for common sense tips that will maintain a safe environment for everyone who joins the fun in and around your pool.
Pool Safety Starts Inside
Let’s start with the basics: skin care. Keep a variety of sun block products stocked, such as sensitive skin formulas, lotions, spray-on, water/sweat-proof, etc. Ideally, sun block should be applied at least 10 minutes prior to getting into the water, to allow it to penetrate the skin and fully absorb. If it’s put on too soon, it will already begin breaking down. Remember, the lower the sun protection factor (SPF), the more frequently you’ll need to re-apply.
Sun blocks with an SPF of less than 15 should be reapplied on dry or damp (not dripping wet) skin every hour, especially during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are the strongest. For higher SPF formulas, less frequent reapplications (every two hours, for example) are fine, unless you are in the water constantly or sweating profusely, which would pull the sunscreen away from your skin faster. Using a higher SPF formula for the face and top of shoulders is also a great idea. A word about sunscreens: like expired medicines, it’s best to start each new swim season with fresh, maximally effective sunscreen. Check the labels for expiration dates when the weather begins to warm up each year and replace outdated ones.
Next, set yourself up for outdoor success in the event of a both a minor mishap or full-blown emergency. Here’s a short list of items to bring with you out to the pool:
- Cell phone or landline extension for quick calls, or to make a call without leaving young children unattended
- Basic first-aid kit with antibacterial ointment, Band-Aids, tweezers (slivers!) and bug spray
- Plenty of drinking water to keep kids hydrated
Into the Water They Go!
Once the basics in place, it’s time to swim. Anyone supervising young swimmers, including older children and teenagers, should know CPR. According to the American Red Cross, children as young as nine years old are typically able to learn and retain CPR instruction, and a child who knows the basics can make a critical difference while waiting for help to arrive. The Red Cross also offers instruction for adults and children at locations across North America, including online courses, for a reasonable price.
Regardless of the age of your children, they and their friends should be aware of your expectations for their behavior. For younger kids, create a poster board with “Pool Rules” and have it laminated to protect it from sun and water. Post it in a conspicuous place. Keep it simple, but clear: no running, no diving in the shallow end, no glass around or in the pool, etc. Having an established set of rules to follow will make it much easier to enforce them and allow everyone to have a great day in the sun.
Other emergency items that should be visible and kept near the pool: a long pole (your pool net/brush can double as an emergency aid) and flotation ring. Make them accessible and be sure they are where they belong at the end of the day.
Remember, it only takes a few minutes, a little information and the right supplies to minimize trouble and maximize fun in the pool for kids all season long!