Swimming From A Young Age: 6 Safety Tips
by Nick Hurst
No matter how well your child is performing in the pool, implementing and remembering these water safety tips is the best way to ensure that your child has an enjoyable, yet safe, swimming experience. As a guardian it is imperative that you have the skills to recognize and tackle dangerous situations head on. Being prepared and knowledgeable when it comes to pool safety can make all the difference to saving a life.
In 2010, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)released a report on the number of estimated injuries and reported fatalities that yielded a number of chilling statistics. The report found that 77% of reported fatalities were children younger than five years old, with “the overwhelming majority of the reported deaths happening in pools”.
These shocking numbers demonstrate the urgency for more training and awareness around water safety, not just for lifeguards but also for pool users and parents alike.
To ensure that you’re prepared for anything, we have put together six top tips for parents and families to bear in mind when taking young children swimming.
Perhaps the most common cause of accidents at the poolside, running can cause a number of potentially life-threatening injuries. Many cases have surfaced over the years, where youngsters have been running, slipped and been knocked unconscious on the hard poolside surface; some have then even fallen into deep water.
Tell your children that they should only walk around the pool and avoid running at all times.
Keep Clear Of The Deep End
Young children should be kept away from the deep end of a public pool even if they have demonstrated strong swimming skills. It only takes a set of tired legs or a slipped armband and this could result in putting your child in danger.
Swimming in the shallow end of the pool provides a strong training foundation for your child to learn how to swim and build skills that will benefit them in later life.
A good depth for young children is mid-torso; this way they can place their shoulders under the water but also rise to their feet quickly and with ease.
The chlorine in most public swimming pools is not necessarily harmful to eyesight but it can be irritating to children’s eyes, limiting their visibility and concentration in the water and thus impacting on their safety. Furthermore, you’ll also want to protect their eyesight from any water floating debris too. This is where goggles are ideal. Wearing goggles also encourages children to swim underwater, though a child should never do this unassisted.
Before entering the pool, make sure your young ones know the rules and ensure these are adhered to at all times. If you are not already in the pool then it is advisable that parents, guardians and minders stand at the sides and always keep an eye on their activity within the water; whether it’s watching the behavior of your dependent or the behavior of others.
A popular case in the media this year was that of R&B performer Usher, whose five year old son was trapped underwater after getting his arm caught in the swimming pool drain. Luckily, the young boy was rescued and CPR was performed, though this is not always the case. Whenever your child is in the water, it is of vital importance to monitor them at all times to keep them safe.
Armbands are an absolute necessity to keep young children safe in the water. Not only do armbands keep them afloat, they also help to develop confidence and proficiency in the water when it comes to swimming independently in later years.
Basic Emergency Assistance
Being prepared to provide emergency assistance is vital; it is recommended that before taking the kids swimming, you familiarize yourself with the poolside equipment so you can give support if necessary. This might be an inflatable ring or a lifesaving hook/pole for longer reach. In some cases the pool or spa pump will need to be turned off to provide support to someone who has got themselves trapped in a drain or submerged under the water. Make sure that you are aware of where the controls to the pool are situated at all times.
Although this is best left to lifeguards and medical professionals, if the circumstance arises, it is strongly recommended that parents or guardians learn how to correctly perform CPR. Knowing CPR can single handle save a life and is a vital safety measure to have around the pool. For extra care, always ensure that there is a telephone nearby to swiftly call for emergency assistance if it is required.
Enjoy Your Swimming
We hope that you have found these tips useful and if you have any others, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Remember to keep an eye on your children, but most of all make sure that they’re also having fun.
This article was written by Nick Hurst for Simply Swim, the UK’s leading swimwear and equipment store.