South African’s love their braai and pool time, especially in the blistering heat of summer. It’s a time for relaxing, drifting around on an inflatable animal of some sort, and indulging in good food with good friends. But before we take off our responsible hats, we at Pool Spa want to take this opportunity to remind you of some critical swimming pool safety advice for children. The very last thing we want is for our happy days around the pool to end in tragedy.
Drowning is a quiet and quick disaster, especially for children under the age of 4. And for those who survive drowning, many are left with irreversible brain damage through lack of oxygen. Drowning in real life does not look like the dramatic thrashing around of the movies with people shouting for help. In fact, most children will not be able to call for help and are not strong enough to lift their arms above the water to splash, they simply look like they’re treading water quietly – which is a frightening thought for any parent.
Essential Swimming Pool Safety – Non- negotiables for Summer
A safety net or a secure pool perimeter is not only important, but it’s also law. And for good reason! Don’t think of this as a landscaping eyesore or a tedious problem to put on or take off – this is one of your best defences against losing your child to drowning. Embrace them and use them.
If you are not in the pool with your child personally then there needs to be a responsible set of eyes watching them like a hawk. Even older children who are good swimmers can slip and bump their heads and slip under the water. Know where your child is all the time if the pool net is off.
Learning how to swim here in South Africa where we spend so much time in the water is a life skill and not a nice-to-have. It’s as essential as wearing a seatbelt or learning to cross the road safely. Children can be taught swimming pool safety from a young age and will be able to at least get to the side of the pool unassisted if the worst happens.
Teach Swimming Pool Safety
Inform your children and any childminders what drowning looks like, what potential hazards may be, and how to help. A first aid course is an excellent idea and can save a life!
Maintain Your Pool
As adults we don’t see things as a child does, but can you imagine trying to reach for the edge of a pool with little arms, but you can’t quite manage it as the water level is too low? Keep the pool topped up, and make sure that the pool surrounds are clear of anything that could provide either a visual barrier or a boost up for a determined toddler.
An article in Swim University makes the point that we have house alarms, smoke alarms and car alarms, yet we don’t have swimming pool alarms. There are a range of options which we can (and should) invest in to make sure that our swimming pool area is always monitored. Take a look at a few of these here.
We really want you to have a wonderfully restful year-end break, but we also would like to encourage you to take every precaution during this time and make sure everyone in your home is as invested in swimming pool safety as you are.