kidreadytoswimHere I go, sounding like a total downer and talking about water safety tips just because it’s now the season for swimming. But knowing these things can help save a life, so it’s worth it to spend a few minutes going over this and being proactive rather than reactive.

Never swim alone no matter how good a swimmer you are. Stuff happens sometimes even to the best swimmers, so have someone sharing your space who can help you or call for help.

Don’t allow kids to play anywhere near a pool if there is no fence keeping the two apart. Kids might not mean to fall in the pool but they tend to run and play without looking and can easily fall in. They can also take a header into the water when they’re trying to fish out the ball that they accidentally kicked in.

Make sure the gate to the pool area is locked. Not just closed, but locked so they can’t let themselves into the area without you.

Don’t assume anything in regards to the kids’ swimming abilities. Always keep an eye on them and if you want them to stay in the shallow end then be sure to insist on that.

Unless you’ve been trained in adult life-saving, don’t attempt to “rescue” a grownup. In their panic and struggles, they can try to climb on top of you and can drown you. See that life preserver and long pole hanging on the fence by the pool house? Put those to use to aid in rescuing.

Young children still need to be watched even if they have water wings on or they’re in a tube. These blow up devices are NOT babysitters and can’t be trusted to keep their air 100% of the time.

With really young children, you should be right by their sides. It only takes an instant for a toddler to fall over and go from a couple inches of water to face down or in over his head.

It would be a good idea to learn what you can about how to help someone who has gone under and swallowed water. You should also learn about how to stop the bleeding should someone conk their head on the side of the pool.

Of course you should immediately make an emergency call at the sign of real trouble so always have a phone nearby and handy.

The best thing you can do for your kids is get them comfortable in the water at an early age and enroll them every summer in swim lessons. As they progress through the years, they’ll learn how to tread water and float on their backs in an emergency, plus they’re taught life-saving. Those are good things to know how to do whether they’re happy swimming fish or only swim occasionally.

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