5 Backyard Pool Safety Tips
Since the coronavirus basically threw all of our summer vacation plans in the garbage this year, we decided to take some of the money we were budgeting for hotels and get the kids a bigger kiddie pool at the house. Nothing extravagant like a big giant cement in-ground pool with a heater and a water slide. No, we got one of those round 14 footers that is about 3 1/2 feet deep. I think it cost like $300. I figure if I can get at least two summers of use out of it before the kids or elements destroy it, it'll be money well spent.
Last weekend was the first time it was almost hot enough to swim and the kids couldn't wait to fill it up with 3,300 gallons of water, ice-cold from the garden hose. Two days later, the water is still ridiculously cold. Despite my warnings that 70 degrees and cloudy is not warm enough to go swimming in freezing water, they insisted on jumping in yesterday afternoon. They lasted all of 20 minutes before everyone came back in the house, shivering and wrapped in towels.
When I was a kid, my mom had an 80-degree rule. We couldn't go swimming unless it was at least 80 degrees outside. I'm implementing the same rule at my house, mainly because my wife doesn't want to wash a ton of extra beach towels from kids who only swim for twenty minutes.
I can only imagine the nightmare that parents of drowned children experience. WebMD says children between the ages of 1 and 4 are at most risk of drowning in pools, whereas older kids and adults are most likely to drown in natural waters. As we gear up for Memorial Day weekend, now seems like a good time for pool safety reminders.
- Kids can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, according to KidsHealth.org. That means even a tiny little kiddie pool can be dangerous for young toddlers. NEVER leave them unattended. You always hear parents of drowning victims say things like, "I just turned my back for a few minutes" or "I just ran in the house to get my phone" and came back to find a tragedy.
- Your pool should be gated to prevent random neighbor kids from easily accessing the pool.
- Remove the ladder from above-ground pools when not in use. I don't have to worry about my 4-year-old climbing into the pool if there is no way for her to get in.
- Enroll your child in swimming lessons as soon as they are old enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics now says kids should learn how to swim starting at age 1.
- Supervise, supervise, supervise. Accidents can happen even when children know how to swim. Use your own judgment with experienced swimmers and teenagers but younger kids should ALWAYS be supervised.
Get more Swim Safety Tips at HealthyChildren.org