Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
Parents are right to be concerned about pool safety for infants and toddlers. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages one to four. This doesn’t mean parents have to cut out trips to the pool altogether, however. Parents can still enjoy pool-side fun with their youngsters if they follow a few simple safety tips.
Keep Little Ones Close
Parents are the best protection for their infant or toddler while at the pool. Parents should always stay within an arms reach of their child and never turn their back on him or her. Drowning happens quickly and is often tragically silent.
Don’t Rely on Floats
Water wings, inner tubes and other floatation devices give parents a false sense of security at the pool. These devices are not meant to be a substitute for parental supervision and will not save a child from drowning. When children are provided with these devices for play in the pool, parents should still stay close by and keep their child in sight.
Teach Basic Pool Safety Rules
It’s never too soon to begin teaching young ones how to behave when around the pool. Children should be taught to walk, not run, when in the pool area. They should also be taught that rough housing is not appropriate behavior for the pool. Eliminating these two bad behaviors can significantly reduce the risk of a child slipping and falling into the pool.
Have a Phone Handy in Case of Emergency
If an accident does happen, parents should be able to call for help quickly. Seconds could mean the difference between life and death for a drowning child. Parents should always keep their cell phone on them and charged up while at the pool. Smaller public pools like those found in upscale housing communities may not have phones for use in case of an emergency.
Learn CPR for Infants and Toddlers
If an accident happens while at the pool, CPR reduces risks of brain damage and doubles the child’s chances for surviving. Every parent that plans to take their child to the pool should plan on taking an Infant and Toddler CPR course first. Getting certified is quick, easy and inexpensive. Though one-on-one classroom training is preferable, busy parents can even find free CPR training courses online.
Formal Swimming Lessons for Toddlers Age One and Up
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports swim lessons for infants and toddlers age one to four. Evidence shows that swim lessons reduces the risk of drowning in this age group. Swim lessons also provide parents with a fun way to bond with their child at the pool.