A trip to the public pool is a classic way to beat the summer heat, but it can also be a dangerous place for kids. You can keep your child safe at the pool with some precautions.
The timing can be a factor in keeping your child safe at the public pool. The pools are usually busy when they open and throughout the hottest part of the day. That means lots of bodies in the pool, which can make it difficult to keep track of your child. It also means more people who could bump into your child or accidentally push him under the water while he plays. Choose a time that is less busy at the pool so you aren’t dealing with as many other people.
Before you swim at a public pool with your child, take a look around to ensure it is a safe environment. Public pools should meet safety standards, but some may fall short. Look for potential hazards, such as cracks or uneven surfaces around the pool. Check out the lifeguards to make sure they are paying attention and taking their jobs seriously. Report any problems you see right away to the manager of the pool.
No matter when you go to the pool, your child needs constant supervision, even with a lifeguard on duty. With young children, you should be in the pool within an arm’s reach to keep him safe. If your older child is a strong swimmer, you should still keep an eye on him. He could get a cramp, get bumped by another swimmer or panic if he gets in deep water.
Supervision is also important for making sure your child follows the rules. For example, he might run along the edge of the pool or try to dive in where the water is shallow. Or he might wander off to another area of the pool. This puts him at risk for abduction.
No matter where you let your child swim, always practice water safety basics. Keep your child within his ability level when it comes to swimming. If he wears a flotation device, don’t rely solely on the device to keep him safe. If your child goes down a water slide at the pool, always have him go feet first. Teach him to pay attention to other people in the pool so he doesn’t jump on or run into someone else.