Summer pool safety tips for the family
7 October 2016
As providers of water safety lessons for more than 60 years,
we've heard countless stories of near misses at pool and waterside
From the drowning child hidden from view by the towel hanging on
the pool fence, to the dog caught in a floating pool cover, they
are stories that strike fear in our hearts and aren't forgotten
Water safety survival skills are vital for anyone who spends
time at a pool, beach, river or lake location, and especially where
children are involved because they can easily misjudge a situation
and find themselves in strife at a split second.
Here are some strategies to keep your family safe around the
pool this summer:
Line of sight
A simple towel hanging over a pool fence between your kitchen
window and the pool can be all it takes for you not to see a
drowning child. Make sure that you have a clear line of sight to
the pool when children are swimming, whether you are inside or away
from the pool enclosure.
Children are naturally curious and it only takes a tempting
floaty pool toy that they reeeeeally want to reach, for tragedy to
strike. A child can stretch too far or slip on a wet surface and
suddenly fall into the water. Keep toys on dry ground inside the
pool enclosure when they're not being used and make sure the pool
is fenced off or that children ask permission before entering the
enclosure if they are tall enough to open the gate latch.
Adults in charge
Whether it's a pool party at your place, a friend's place or the
local swimming pool, there should always be at least one adult in
charge of the children in the pool. We've heard of some parents
taking it in turns to watch over the children on half-hour
roster-like rotations and even a high-vis vest for the 'parent in
charge'. Other parents have common agreement to each be mindful of
their own child. Whatever your plan - make sure you have a plan.
Chat it over with the other adults around you to make sure there is
always at least one adult with a careful eye on children playing in
Know a child's swim strength (or lack of)
Some children are better at swimming than others - and it's
particularly important to know this if you're hosting a 'pool
party'. Ask each child (or their parent) whether they are confident
in the water - and if they aren't consider having more than one
adult on hand.
Diving and jumping
Diving and jumping into the pool is an innocent cause of
swimming pool tragedies every year. Some well-known safety rules
around the pool and a responsible adult on hand is essential for
Soft floating pool covers/warmers
Soft floating pool covers can be accidentally mistaken for a
firm surface. But stepping onto it can result in a pet or person
sinking into the water and becoming tangled in the cover. Family
members should understand how the pool cover works, and keep the
pool area closed off when the cover is on.
Phone nearby (but not in your pocket)
These days most of us have a phone in our pocket (or our hand) a
lot of the time. But your beloved iPhone will not survive if you
dive into the pool in an emergency rescue situation - and it will
be no help if you need to dial 000 after. Consider keeping a phone
near the pool area in case you need it for emergency, rather than
in your back pocket.
The difference a second makes
It only takes a split second for a child playing on the water's
edge to turn into tragedy. It goes without saying that if a child
has access to or is playing near the edge of any pool, beach, lake,
river or even bath, stay close by and keep watch over them.
Pets and pools
We often hear about keeping children safe around the pool, but
what about your fur-children? Pets, especially dogs, can come into
trouble due to their naturally playful, inquisitive and exploring
nature. They can be accidentally locked inside a fenced-off pool
enclosure, chase a ball, butterfly or toy into the water, or
mistake floating pool warming covers for ground and become tangled
under water. Not all pets can swim well so keep your furry one safe
by fencing off the pool and keeping an eye on where your pet is if
it's in the enclosure with you.
Swimming lessons - water safety skills
It goes without saying that lessons in water safety and swimming
are essential for anyone who will spend time in or around a pool,
beach, river or lake. Enrolling your family members in water safety
and possibly lifesaving skills equips them with the necessary
skills to act responsibly around the water, to be safe in the
water, and to know what to do if they or a 'buddy' get into
For more information about water safety and swimming lessons
check out our website.