Safety First at the Pool
Nothing can ruin a great summertime like a real pool time scare. Unfortunately, lack of information, inattention and overconfidence among parents in their child's swimming ability are all factors that contribute to serious pool accidents.
First, give the children a break. Children don't know their limits, and can often play and swim to the point of exhaustion. Many public pools blow the whistle for Adult Swim several times a day. In many cases, not a single adult will get in the pool. Why do they still have them? It's a mandatory break for kids to sit down, catch their breath, and rehydrate.
Many children are taught to swim early on. This is great, and highly encouraged, but it is not a substitute for always carefully supervising your children. If you have your own pool in your backyard, you are now responsible for any neighbors or friends that come to swim. If a non-swimmer is coming to play, or you're not confident in your abilities as a lifeguard, ask the parent to stay for the day as well.
Don't allow children to run around a pool deck. The slick concrete is a notorious source of serious falls, and with few surfaces harder than concrete, you can imagine what a landing on the head could do. Also, never let anyone dive if your pool is less than 9 feet deep. Anything less can cause serious and unintended injury that could break necks. Again, if you're not completely confident in your child's diving ability, consider practicing first at a town or community pool designed for diving. If you have a diving board, but an inexperienced diver coming to visit, consider asking the parent to stay.
In case of an emergency, call 911 immediately. Every person that owns a pool should know basic first aid and CPR. If you have a pool, and don't know these techniques, take a class immediately. They could save someone's life.
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