Summer pool parties can be a blast if you plan accordingly, follow some simple guidelines, and make sure safety is your number-one priority. Whether you're hosting or attending a party, here are some pool-party pointers that'll help keep everyone happy and injury-free.
Be Prepared to Participate
One important rule of thumb from a mom of two young boys is to be prepared to get in the pool with them. Kids need constant supervision when in the pool (even if they have inflatable armbands) and the best way to ensure their safety is to physically be in the water with them. Even if you don't feel your most attractive in a bathing suit, suit up anyway. Your kids' safety is more important than your desire to look svelte in a two-piece, right? Plus, it's way more fun than sweating in the heat!
Follow Pool Rules
- Never leave children unattended in or around the pool. Never.
- Enroll your children in swim lessons so they learn basic water safety.
- In case the worst happens, make sure you know CPR.
- Keep a telephone near the pool.
- Install a fence with a self-closing gate and a secure latch.
- Use pool and spa covers properly and inspect them regularly for damage or defects.
If hosts have specific pool rules (such as "No Diving"), they should post them prominently for guests to see. Adult supervisors can ensure that pool rules are being followed.
The more parents invited to the party, the better. Don't expect the host to be able to watch your kids at all times. She'll be too busy serving, mingling, and tending to her own kids to be paying close attention to yours. For hosts, consider hiring a lifeguard. If it sounds like overkill, consider this:
Swimming injuries in kids have become more common, according to a study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. The number of children ages 7+ treated in the ER for swimming-related injuries is nearly 30 percent higher than 20 years ago. Researchers pointed to parents not paying close-enough attention to their kids as the cause. The bulk of injuries happened in swimming pools.
Reduce the Risk
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance asks everyone to reduce risk by following the Safer 3 program developed by the Swim for Life Foundation:
- Isolate the pool from the house and yard area by surrounding it with a fence and self-closing and self-latching gate.
- Install door, child immersion and pool alarms and locking pool and spa covers. Several barriers provide backup in case one fails.
- Prevent children's unsupervised access to any body of water, including natural ones, bathtubs, buckets, coolers, and toilets.
- Designate a "water watcher" to ensure constant, attentive adult supervision during water recreation and at bath time.
- Teach children water safety and swimming skills. Parents and child caregivers should also know how to swim proficiently.
- Check the pool area or other water features first if a child is missing.
- Know CPR with rescue breathing.
- Keep a phone and reaching and throwing aids near the pool.
- Develop an emergency action plan and make sure everyone knows it.
And as always, wear your sunscreen! Be a good example to your kids, and apply (and reapply) sunscreen on yourself just as often as you do them. Hosts should provide sunscreen for guests who didn't bring any (there's always at least one!), and include some activities in shaded areas under trees or umbrellas.
More Tips for Pool Fun and Safety from NJ Family: