Who doesn’t enjoy some relaxing time in the swimming pool or watching children race each other in the water on hot and humid days?
Swimming not only gives respite from the heat during the warm weather, but is a recreation activity for both children and adults alike. Moreover, it is a great bonding exercise for parents who want to spend some quality time with their little ones.
But the fun and frolic can be cut short if one is not careful about the safety of children inside a pool. Swimming pool accidents have become increasingly common in our country and as more children enroll for some pool fun, parents need to be doubly sure that their little ones are completely safe and protected inside the pool.
According to the World Health Organisation, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the world, with 372,000 drowning deaths reported every year. Many of these are children. Closer home, in Tamil Nadu, the Government has brought in some strict guidelines, following a series of pool accidents. The New Indian Express has reported that safety ropes and rings are a must in state-run pools while no children below the age of six are allowed near the swimming pool. Also every swimming pool is assigned a number of lifeguards to prevent any untoward incident.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend children under the age of one year to receive swimming training to ensure safety. Instead it advises parents to participate in all activities and be in the water themselves when small children are in the pool.
But this should not stop you from taking your children for a fun dip. Here are some tips that will help you keep your child safe --
- When swimming in a public pool, ensure the child swims in the designated area and that there are enough lifeguards around.
- Even when toddlers or preschoolers are swimming in a shallow pool, parents should always be around to monitor them.
- Many spinal injuries in water occur because of diving from the shallow end of the pool. All pools have depths clearly marked, so never allow a child to dive in shallow waters.
- Children who have just started swimming or are inexperienced should wear life jackets or some form of safety gear in the water.
- Never leave a child unattended in a pool. An adult should always be around to supervise.
- Choose public pools that have enough safety gear, well-trained instructors, lifeguards and safety barriers near the pool. Do not hesitate to check about the safety arrangements before enrolling a child for swimming classes.
- Be it a public or a private one, all swimming pools should have enough safety rings with ropes attached to them and also a first aid kit.
- If you have a pool at home, make sure it has appropriate barriers such as gates or fences, which very small children will not be able to open.
- Advise small children not to play or run around near the edge of the pool.
- It is a good idea for most of the family members to learn swimming, so that they are able to take action when a child may be in trouble in the water.
- Make sure that at least one or two members of your family are trained to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It makes a huge difference.
- Don’t be distracted with other work while supervising children in a swimming pool. If a small child is in the pool, it’s advisable that one of the parents is also inside it.
Even a few seconds of carelessness can turn a happy moment into a tragedy. It is the responsibility of the parents to always ensure that their children have a safe time in the pool and enjoy the water under their watchful eyes.
Safety should be a priority when small children are in the house. Check out our article about a child proofing checklist --