As a mom, you are the number one method of keeping your precious child safe in the water. From keeping your eyes on your daughter as she does her hundredth cannonball to staying within arm’s reach of your son as he takes his first tentative dog paddles, water safety starts with you. Even the most attentive parent could use some added layers of safety and peace of mind with the following products:
Yes, you are careful about making sure the pool gate is closed and locked, and you try to remember to lock the patio door that goes out to the backyard. But you have also read enough tragic news stories to know that a determined child can get past all kinds of barriers to get to the tempting pool.
This is why a pool alarm is such a smart buy; they go off when someone enters or falls into a pool, emitting a loud alarm inside the house. If you do not have a pool alarm already, InTheSwim.com carries a great selection, including alarms for above-ground and in-ground pools, and also door and gate alarm that will let you know when someone gets near the pool. As a bonus, if you have four-legged babies who are not skilled swimmers, the pool alarm will let you know if Fido or Fluffy is going for an unauthorized dip.
Safety Ring Buoy
Even older kids with lots of swimming experience under their belts can suddenly get tired in the pool, accidentally swallow too much water or get cramps. To make sure you can help your kids to the safety of the pool’s edge, invest in a safety ring buoy. Hang the swim ring from your pool fence, and don’t let the kids play with it as a toy; stress to them that it’s a piece of safety equipment that must always stay in the same spot unless it is in use. Then, if one of your kids starts to struggle in the water, you can throw the ring to the child and encourage him or her to grab on and then use the nylon tow rope to pull your child to shallower water.
A Life Jacket
The Red Cross lists a life jacket as one of the most important pieces of safety equipment to keep on hand. While you might not need one when splashing in your backyard pool, if you head to the lake or river this summer, be sure everyone has a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (it will have a stamp right on it listing it as such). When buying life jackets for your kids, make sure to check the weight limits on the label, and then practice putting them on and swimming while wearing them.
A final word of advice: Floaties and water wings may look adorable with their Dora or Minions designs, but they are not a substitute for a Coast Guard-approved life jacket — or your constant supervision.