Home Swimming Pool Safety Tips All Parents Should Know
One hundred guests. Oodles of toddlers . A kickin band. An unfenced pool. Its enough to make any parent sweat. But at a party in the San Francisco suburbs last summer, the vibe was chill. The host had hired a lifeguard,says guest Debbie Haderle. Kids were swimming and parents were drinking margaritas. When festivities moved to the dance floor, Haderle was alarmed to see the lifeguard himself boogying away. The host assured me all the kids were out of the water, she says.
But this mom of three wasnt sold. She had just read a womans account of how her young son drowned in the pool at a busy vacation house. In the article, the mother urged parents to have a designated guardian watching the water even when people werent supposed to be swimming. Uneasy, Haderle went to the pool and was horrified to find a 2-year-old boy toeing the waters edge. She swooped him right up. His mom came running and was in tears when she saw him safely in my arms. She said, We were in line to get him an ice cream and then he was gone.
Have Your Emergency Plan In Place
Knowing even basic CPR and acting immediatelyinstead of waiting for emergency responderscan make the difference between life and death in drowning cases or anytime a person’s heart stops. Round up a group of parents and sign up for CPR classes together, or order a CPR party kit to learn these skills at home. Buy an all-weather sign with CPR instructions to hang on the inside of your pool gate, and be sure to print your homes address on it in permanent marker in case anyone needs to call an ambulance. Even if a child doesnt need CPR after being submerged, having water in her lungs can still lead to serious trouble. Watch for coughing, lethargy, and rapid breathing, and if you have any questions, dont hesitate to ask your childs doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911, says Dr. Smith.
Public Pools Are A No
That is, before the age of 6 months. Public pools are crowded and noisy. In addition to that, the water temperature at a public pool is out of your control. A safe water temperature for infants is lukewarm, the water should not be cold. Babies cannot regulate their body temperature like adults can. The ideal pool temperature for a newborn baby is approximately 90-92ºF. Water that is too warm/hot is also dangerous for babies as it can cause lightheadedness, muscle spasms and vomiting. It is not recommended that you bring infants into hot tubs for this reason.
Another reason to be wary of public pools, there might be more bacteria and other contaminants present due to the high amount of traffic that public pools get. Warm water at public pools creates circumstances for bacteria to breed. Always watch your baby for signs of illness and discomfort during and after being in a pool.
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Is Chlorine Safe For Babies
The chlorine present in the pool is not harmful to the baby. In fact, it is important to know that treated water is healthier than water at risk from microbes ! However, you should always rinse baby well when taking him out of the water, dry him and moisturize his skin with a cream designed for this purpose. For optimum protection, you can also opt for a bathing cap to protect babys fragile hair.
However, be careful not to overexpose young children to the harmful effects of chlorine. We stick to about 20 hours of swimming per year and we prefer private pools, more often treated with bromine , salt electrolysis or PHMB coupled with an anti-alga.
Early Benefits Of Baby Swimming
Being in water is a wonderful experience for babies in terms of physical and mental development. The properties of water allow a baby to move in ways they cant do on land due to the forces of gravity. It creates gentle challenges for the baby through different sensory experiences which aids cognitive development. Research shows that babies who have regular enjoyable and loving experiences in the pool at a young age are more likely to swim earlier and retain a love and respect for water.
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Avoid Heavily Loaded Pools
Parents should take their babies to pools that are less loaded and that have a lot of free space to move the baby in the water.
Unlike adults, the breathing system, eyes and skin of a baby are more sensitive to chlorine. Sensible precautions should be taken since the babies might have a bowel movement in the pool.
When Should My Child Start Swimming Lessons
Age isnt the only predictor of when your child might be ready to swim. Keep in mind that each child will be ready to swim on her own timeline.
If your little one is frequently exposed to the water, be it a pool or the beach, physically coordinated so she can kick and paddle at the same time, and emotionally ready , all swim signs point to go.
In that case, look for a swimming-readiness program thatll teach her the basic moves how to float and doggie paddle, for instance. Look for classes of fewer than six students with instructors who are certified in CPR, first aid and water safety.
And remember, touch supervision should be strongly enforced whenever your tot is in the water , especially for babies, toddlers and older children who may be new to splashing without Mom and Dad hanging on.
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A Guide To Baby Swimming
Whether it’s mom-and-me swimming lessons or just taking your little one for a dip, here’s everything you need to know to have fun and stay safe.
The weather is heating up and youre dreaming of lounging by the pool but how can you safely involve your baby in a bit of poolside fun? Getting your baby used to water from an early age is essential from a safety standpoint and it also provides a host of benefits for your little one. Swimming is probably the best activity you can do with baby, says Barbara Walsh, a swim instructor and owner of baby swim school Duck and Dive.
Here are some tips for taking your baby swimming:
Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Water
Infections And Nasty Poop
And subsequent diarrhea in the pool can cause eye infections, ear and skin infections, respiratory and gastrointestinal issues poop in a pool is bad.
Babies younger than 2 months of age have extremely vulnerable immune systems. Its one of the main reasons youre told to keep baby away from crowds for the first 6 weeks. And again, babies tend to put their hands in their mouths. Think about that for a moment.
Though swim diapers appear to contain fecal matter, swim diapers arent effective enough to prevent this poopy situation. Recreational water illnesses can be quite serious, notes the
It takes as little as one inch of water, as few as seconds, for a child to drown. And its silent.
You should always stay within one arms reach whenever your baby is near the pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using touch supervision. This means your baby should always be within an arms reach near the water, so that you could reach out and touch them instantly. This may be tiring, but nothing is more important.
Regardless of what you may use to help your small child stay afloat, always remain within an arms reach as your baby explores this weightless, free-range playtime.
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When Can My Baby Swim
This is a question Im often asked in the clinic. Often parents ask whether they need to wait until after their baby has his first set of vaccinations.
Actually, the decision is based more on your babys size, or surface area: volume ration. This determines how rapidly your baby will lose heat when submerged in water. Babies can lose heat through their skin very rapidly, even in a tropical country like Singapore!
Usually, a baby with an average birth weight with good weight gain afterwards will be able to start swimming at around six weeks of age. This is a good time for Mom to return to swimming as well- starting swimming too early after giving birth may increase the risk of an infection.
Should I Use Sunscreen On My Baby
Although many infant and toddler sunscreens often recommend their use only after three months of age, it is advisable to apply it to your one or two month old if they are going to be outdoors and exposed to sunlight for a significant period of time . Having seen second degree burns in a young infant patient, I would strongly recommend you use an infant or toddler sunscreen for your baby when he is swimming.
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Benefits Of Swimming Lessons
Knowing how to swim is very important, as it can help prevent drowning. Studies have shown that swimming lessons can help reduce the drowning risk for toddlers and young children between the ages of 1 and 4, so you may like to take this into account when deciding when to start your little one on lessons.
Still, know that swimming lessons donât make your child âdrown proof.â You will need to carefully supervise your child whenever she is in or near water. And, if you have a pool at home, it’s crucial to block access when youâre not there to supervise. You can learn more about this in our section on water safety.
On the bright side, swimming and water play can be fun activities for your child. Like many sports, swimming can help build confidence and it can be a steppingstone for developing other life skills.
When Can You Start Swimming Lessons For Your Baby
At an early age, swimming lessons for young babies are about gaining confidence in the water.
But dont expect to be sewing any swimming badges onto their costumes too early on, Katie explains.
When we talk about learning to swim, a lot of parents think that they want to see their child swimming the length or width of the pool but actually theres a lot of skills involved in getting to that point.
A lot of lessons you’ll see for babies and young toddlers are delivered using fun and engaging activities. So there’ll be nursery rhymes that they’re familiar with or games.
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Where Can My Baby Swim
Its best to get your baby used to the water at home in the bath. You dont have to put them under the water just let them get to enjoy floating and the feel of the water on their skin.
From about 2 months you can take them into a heated pool, but dont keep them in the water for more than 10 minutes at first. If they start to shiver, take them out and wrap them in a towel. Babies under 12 months shouldnt stay in a pool for more than 30 minutes.
Its OK to take your baby into a river, lake or the ocean from 2 months, but its very important to make sure they dont get cold. Choose a spot where the water is warm and clean. Watch out for currents that prevent you from holding them properly. And dont let your baby drink the water.
Young children should not go into hot spas. Spas are only suitable for children over 16.
Avoid Entrapment: Suction From Pool And Spa Drains That Can Trap A Swimmer Underwater
Few parents realize that children can die in a pool or hot tub by getting sucked down and trapped in a drain. The good news: Since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act went into effect in December 2008, there have been no drain entrapment-related deaths involving children in public pools and spas.
This federal law mandates that all public pools must have anti-entrapment drain covers installed. But always be aware of drain condition at your neighborhood pool. If you spot a broken or missing drain cover, ask your pool operator if your pool or spa drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.
If you have a home swimming pool, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. Your pool should also have at least two drains for each pump, which will reduce the powerful suction if one drain is blocked, says Dr. Shenoi. Single-drain pools, hot tubs, whirlpools, and spas should have safety vacuum-release systems, which automatically release the suction if a drain is blocked.
Other smart tips to follow: Watch your child closely and make sure she doesn’t swim or play near drains. Tie her hair back or have her wear a bathing cap, and make sure her swimsuit fits snugly, with no loose ties.
At What Age Can Babies And Toddlers Learn To Swim
Swimming instruction definitely isnt a must-do for babies or young toddlers and it isnt for every tot either, so dont force the issue, says the American Academy of Pediatrics .
The group now supports swimming lessons for children ages 1 and older who show signs of pool readiness and are frequently exposed to water .
If your sweetie seems ready for splashing in something bigger than the bath, discuss the topic of swim lessons with the pediatrician, who can give you a better idea of where your child is developmentally, emotionally and physically, and make a recommendation of a suitable program in your area.
Philomena Geary Talks Baby Swimming Advice For Beginners
Parenting editor Jo Maggs spoke to Director of 1st Swim School, Philomena Geary for tips on how to help your baby feel confident in the water.
Jo: Hi Phil, how many babies have you taught to swim?
Philomena: Ive been teaching since 1996 so I have been teaching long enough to now be teaching the children of some of my first babies! Ive also taken swimming teachers through their STA Baby & Pre-School qualification since 2002, both here in the UK and abroad Brussels, Athens, Dubai. So that must run into hundreds.
Jo: What advice do you have for absolute beginners, by which we mean parents, as well as babies!
Philomena: Start practising in the bath. You may want to have your partner or a friend with you, just whilst you get used to handling a wet, slippery baby. Make sure that the waters about 32°C, anything less will be too cold. This also applies to pool water, especially for babies under 6 months old. After a few sessions, introduce a bath toy to play with this will eventually be a familiar item to bring along to the pool.
Jo: The first trip to a pool with a baby can be nerve wracking. Whats your best advice for staying calm and comfortable?
Jo: Is there anything specific we can say to encourage babies in the water?
Jo: Whats the best way to hold your baby in the water?
Jo: Whats the best way to avoid a wee or poo disaster in the pool?
Jo: Thanks Phil. Lastly, any water safety tips?
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Home Swimming Pool Safety
If you have a swimming pool at home, you’ll need to follow certain rules while itâs in use and keep it secured when itâs not being used.
When your swimming pool is in use, follow these guidelines:
Donât let children run around the pool or push one another into the pool
Donât let your child use an inflatable mattress or floating toy, as he may slip off it into deep water or it may deflate unexpectedly, endangering your childâs safety
Make sure that the deep and shallow ends of your pool are marked, and never let your child dive into the shallow end
Remove the pool cover completely before letting anyone swim
Donât let your child walk on the pool cover while itâs covering the pool, as he could accidentally fall in the pool and get trapped underneath
Make sure your poolâs drain covers are properly maintained, as suction from drains can trap swimmers. You may even consider installing anti-entrapment drain covers
Itâs a good idea to have a safety ring connected to a rope or a shepherdâs hook near your swimming pool.
Hereâs how to keep your swimming pool secured when not in use:
Enrolling your little one in swimming lessons once heâs old enough can give your child lifelong skills and confidence in the water. Even in your babyâs first year, you can consider water play classes to familiarize your baby with water and to set the stage for learning to swim.
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If I Have My Own Swimming Pool Can My Baby Swim
Family life around the pool is a great place to enjoy the water with your baby. The same guidelines of introducing the baby from 6 months would apply and we recommend the following safety guidelines:
Golden rule: When supervising your child swimming, they should be within arms reach at all times.
- Fence your pool around all four sides of the pool to prevent access from the house to the pool
- A non-climable fence that is at least 1200mm in height constructed so that it inhibits access by young children to the pool.
- A gate that is self-closing and self-latching which is regularly maintained and never left propped open.
- The gap under the fence is no more than 100mm from the ground to prevent a child from crawling underneath. The vertical bars should be closer than 100mm so a child cannot slip between them.
- Remove any moveable objects such as furniture and pot plants that could help a child climb over the fence.
- If you are having a party with multiple children and adults, allocate 2 people to be life-guards in shifts of 20 minutes doing nothing else but supervising.
- Eyes on the kids at all times not on your phone.
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