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Child Safety Around Swimming Pools

Sunday, September 20, 2009
There is no doubt about it -- every parent wants their child to be safe -- in the water and out. Unfortunately, every year we hear tragic stories about children drowning. There are lots of child safety devices on the market -- fences, life jackets, pool alarms, and of course, swimming lessons, and those are ALL great aids. But fences get left open, life jackets get taken off, pool alarms are not heard, and children panic and forget their swim lessons.

There is no substitution for adult supervision of a child in or around a pool. That supervision needs to be responsible and vigilant. An adult watching the children should not be reading, talking on the phone, or running inside for "just a minute" to check something on the stove. Do not trust that if you tell your young child to stay out of the water while you're gone that they won't get impatient and get in "just a little way." It takes only seconds for a child to drown and cause a lifetime of grieving.

If you are having a party, may we suggest that you have a rotating supervisor. Assign one parent to watch the children for a short span of time -- maybe 15-20 minutes. That parent's only task for that period of time is to watch the children. He or she can then switch to the next assigned person, assuring that the new person knows they are on duty.

You can even have some fun with it -- maybe the assigned adult gets to wear a big funny hat, gets a big whistle, or gets a nice cold beer when their time is OVER. Maybe all the children sing a big "Thank You" song when they are done -- you are limited only by your creativity.

Here's to the safety of all our kids!

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