With the summer months here many Brits are weighing up their holiday options. Whether you end up abroad or here in the UK, chances are there will be a pool involved. With that in mind, I’m excited to have a guest post on pool safety from Kaitlin, who blogs at anappleperday.com. Kaitin lives in the lovely USA and is lucky enough to have her on pool in her back yard (we are all jealous!) So, let me hand over to Kaitin for some pool safety tips. There is something for everyone, whether you are staying at a private villa with it’s own pool or using a public pool, you should find these tips useful.
Our family is very fortunate to have a pool in our back yard. We bought the house when we were just about to start a family, and wanted our kids to enjoy having a pool, so they could enjoy all the fun of the water. But we wanted to keep them safe, so I did a lot of research about kids and pool safety. Here are some things I learned:
Get a fence. At the top of our home improvement list was to put a fence around the pool. We didn’t want an active toddler to be able to wander into the pool area and fall in by accident. We installed a fence recommended for pools – it was over 4 feet high, not chain link, and had a gate with locking mechanism on it. We also added an alarm on the gate, so if someone tried to access the pool area without our permission, an alarm would sound.
Be alarming. We think in terms of “layers of protection” when securing the pool for the kids. We don’t just do one thing, and believe that will be enough. When it came to alarms, we used that philosophy. We put a floating alarm in the pool that sounds if a large body falls into the pool. We put an audible alarm on the back door leading to the pool as well. As our kids have grown more active, we’re glad we have those levels of protection. Here are some great resources with more information about pool safety for kids:
• Water Safety – Baby Center
• Get Ready for Swim Season – In The Swim
Always be in touch. For babies or toddlers, our rule is always hold the child while they are in the water. It doesn’t take long for a young child to gulp some water, panic, and get in trouble. We avoid deep water when we are holding one of the babies, to make sure we can maintain solid footing. It is a real bonding opportunity when your babies are new to the water, so I spent a lot of time letting each baby bob around, to feel the lightness of water, and learning the joys of splashing.
Use lifejackets. We had our babies wear a life jacket, to add just one more level of protection, even while we held them. The proper type jacket for a child is about weight – for kids between 8 and 30 pounds, they’ll wear an infant jacket. If the child is between 30 to 50 pounds, they will wear a child sized jacket. Be sure to try it on before going in the water, to make sure the child doesn’t react negatively to wearing it.
Consider the sun. Overexposure to the sun is one of the biggest things to consider with a toddler or child in the pool. Youngsters can’t tolerate much exposure, so it’s recommended that clothing be used to shield them. We had our babies wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a brimmed hat. We limited time in the sun to 30 minutes or less. As much as possible, we avoided the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, when ultraviolet rays are the strongest.
Think about temperature. Babies aren’t able to regulate their body temperature until they are about 6 to 12 months old, so we made sure to keep our pool warm enough. The rule of thumb is that if the water feels chilly for Mom, it will be too cold for the baby. The recommended temperature is between 84 and 86 degrees. As well, we avoid hot tubs because that water is too hot.
When I was in the water bobbing gently with my baby, and she looked up at me with a big smile on her face, it was a really special moment. With proper safety precautions, I got to enjoy those moments often.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.