Memorial Day weekend marked the opening of pools across the nation. Whether it’s a community pool or the one in your backyard, spending time in the refreshing water is a favorite summer pastime for children (and adults!) of all ages.
If you have a child with a birthday coming up in the summer months, throwing a birthday pool party is a fun and easy way for your child and his friends to have a great time celebrating. Before you send out the invitations, however, you must have a plan in place to ensure the safest possible environment for young children in and around your pool. Unfortunately, Texas is one of the leading states for children drowning in pools or large bodies of water, and much of those drownings occur during the summer. Instead of being frightened by this fact, be prepared with the following steps:
By implementing a few, simple common-sense practices into your pool party you can significantly decrease the likelihood of drowning and injuries.
1. Supervision – The NUMBER ONE rule for pool safety is supervision. Always have an able-bodied adult within arm’s reach of young swimmers. An even more thorough practice is to assign one adult for shifts of 15-20 minutes to be only focused on the children in the pool. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance calls these individuals “Water Watchers.” This means they are not talking with other adults, on their cell phone, eating or distracted in any way. All of their focus is on the children in and around the water. Again, being in arms reach is critical for young swimmers.
2. Ratio – If you’re throwing a party be aware of the ratios of children to adults. If it looks like you will have more than a 2:1 ratio, it’s wise to hire a lifeguard to patrol the pool during the party to keep a constant eye on the children. Also, conducting a brief swim test for each child before letting anyone into the pool is a great idea. Have each child jump into the center of the pool then swim to a wall. If they can do it without needing to doggy-paddle or without dropping their feet and bobbing in the water, let them swim! If not – give the child a life jacket to wear at all times in the water and explain the reason behind it. Be sure to tell parents this is going to happen at the party so they can explain it to their child. For older children this may cause some embarrassment, however, if they cannot safely swim, the life jacket could very well save their lives. Also – have fun games set up around the pool that don’t involve having to get in- like ping pong or limbo, etc. This gives options for children who cannot or would rather not be in the pool safely.
3. Lay the ground rules – Before the fun “officially” begins, have all of the children and adults gather around the pool to lay down the rules. The first rule is: “Never, ever swim alone!” Explain to the children that “alone” in this case means “without an adult.” Take time to explain who qualifies as an adult, “Is your classmate an adult? NO! Is your daddy an adult? Yes!”
If you have children who are old enough to comprehend this rule and repeat it back to you, make a habit of having them repeat the pool rules back to you – beginning and ending with a resounding, “Never EVER swim alone!” This will help solidify the rule in their minds as they enjoy the pool. This also means that parents attending your child’s pool party need to be ready to get wet! Be sure to let parents know that you are all about having adults enjoy the pool too. Who knows - while the kids eat cake maybe you can even sneak in a splash? You’re never too old for a cannonball!
At Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies we absolutely love the summer time! All of the fun and adventure that can be had during these sunny days makes summer one of our favorite times of year. If you’re still looking for a place to keep your child busy and engaged during the summer, look no further than our Summer Olympics-themed summer camp! Campers will “travel” across the globe, experiencing all the different customs, cuisine and culture of several Olympic-participant nations. Keep your child’s mind free of cobwebs and keep the learning going all year long with our summer camp! Find the location nearest you and sign them up today!