By Dana Robinson
Children who were born during the warm spring and summer months routinely experience a perk that fall and winter babies have only dreamed of—annual birthday pool parties!
These fortunate kids have the luxury of mixing their birthday celebrations with cannonball dives and games of Marco Polo. But along with all of the sun and fun comes the additional threat of pool-related mishaps, like injuries or even drowning. Parents can help mitigate these threats by following a few simple rules:
Designate a Water Watcher
Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization that strives to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries, recommends having a designated Water Watcher when children are swimming near adults. A Water Watcher is an adult who agrees to keep a close eye on the kids in the water, without distractions, and wear a Water Watcher tag. After a designated amount of time (15-20 minutes), the card is passed to another adult, who is responsible for supervising the kids. This allows all of the adults to share in the fun of the party, as well as the responsibility for the children’s safety.
To designate an official Water Watcher at your next kids’ pool party, download the Water Watcher tag here.
Accidents happen, and you just never know when cardio-pulmonary resuscitation can help save a child’s life. If a child is drowning his/her heart could stop beating. CPR is used to keep oxygenated blood flowing, which helps keep vital organs alive. The American Heart Association believes that keeping the blood flow active extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive.
To find a CPR certification class in your area, click here. Classes may also be available at a local community college or university.
Establish the Rules Early On
Before the kids jump into the pool it’s a good idea to sit them down for a minute or two and go over a few safety rules. Misty Selph, program developer, and Jennifer White, swim school specialist, at the Starfish Aquatics Institute, recommend establishing the following rules:
- No running
- Jump in feet first
- No pushing or shoving
- No holding others under the water
- Look before you jump in the water to make sure that it’s clear of people and toys
Know Your Swimmers
Selph and White also recommend that the adults who are hosting the party know the swimming ability of the children attending. Non-swimmers need to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket because, sadly, inflatable water wings can easily come off or deflate and put children at risk. Parents either need to bring their own lifejackets or make sure that the host is providing them.
Make Sure the Pool is Clean and Clear
Cloudy pool water can be caused by a number of things, including improper chlorine and pH balance–issues that can usually be remedied by adding the right mix of chemicals to the water. But cloudy water is not only unattractive to the eye; it can also be extremely dangerous. The cloudy haze of the water makes it all but impossible to see if a child is slowly sinking to the to bottom of the pool or is in any other kind of danger. So, make sure to keep that pool clean and clear before those party invitations go out.
Pool Scouts is here to clean up before and after your pool party! Be sure to give us a call to help out this party season!