May 08 , 2020
It isn’t easy to enjoy a relaxing swim in the pool if you’re an anxious parent. All it takes is a second for energetic toddlers and fragile babies to sink to the bottom. Sure, you could simply stay away from pools for a few years and not take any risks, but is that really a sacrifice you’re willing to make?
Bringing your baby to the pool actually comes with plenty of benefits. It allows your baby to get used to swimming and gives them the chance to socialize with other water-winged kids. However, incidents involving drowning and injured kids aren’t all that uncommon. Here are some important tips to keep in mind the next time you and your little one decide to go for a swim in the pool.
Take Swimming Lessons With Your Baby
Babies aren’t just born with the ability to swim. Like walking and talking, swimming is an ability that they need to learn. You can take your baby to swim classes when he or she is around 6 months old.
Don’t be afraid to sign up for mommy-baby swim classes in your area. Your baby will really love interacting with other curious kids and their parents. Alternatively, if these swim classes aren’t your thing, you can also introduce your baby to swimming at home. Simply fill up the bathtub, make sure the temperature’s just right, and help your baby get used to the water.
Even though a baby isn’t born learning how to swim, he does possess the ability to hold his breath underwater. This reflex known as the “Mammalian dive response” usually goes away when a baby is around 7-9 months old, so do take the opportunity to teach him or give him lessons as early as possible.
One can never assume that things won’t ever go wrong. Parents should still learn CPR and basic rescue skills in the event of drowning or other water-related accidents. You can consult your local Red Cross Chapter for CPR lessons and, if possible, also learn from experienced lifeguards. You’ll also need to bring a first aid kit with you in case of nasty injuries.
Keep A Watchful Eye On Your Kids
This is pretty self-explanatory. It only takes just a few seconds for kids to sink to the bottom of a pool. Never let your child swim or even stand near water unattended, and always make sure your kids are swimming in a safe area. You’ll also need to do your best to notice if the other kids in the pool getting a bit too rowdy or if your child starts to drift a bit too close to the deep end. If you feel like you need a break, simply ask a trusted relative or family friend to keep a close eye on your child while you’re away.
Make Sure The Water’s Just Right
A baby can’t regulate his body temperature as well as an older child or adult. You’ll need to make sure that the water isn’t too cold or hot for their delicate skin. If your baby is younger than 6 months old, make sure the pool or bathtub water they’ll use is heated to around 32°C. Any temperature below 30 degrees will only cause your baby to feel too chilly and even cause them to develop hypothermia.
Enforce The Rules
Toddlers will already have a good grasp of what is “right” and “wrong”, so don’t be afraid to lay down important ground rules for them before they get in the pool. These guidelines can include rules like “Don’t run.” “Don’t swim without a grown-up.” “Call a grown-up if you need help”, and so on. If you’re having a tough time getting little Timmy to take you seriously, you can try offering him a reward for following the rules.
Know The Signs Of Drowning
Just because someone isn’t flailing their arms and screaming in the pool doesn’t mean they aren’t drowning. Drowning can happen in as little as 30 seconds, so do remember the warning signs before you book a trip to the pool.
Babies and toddlers can suffer from both dry and secondary drowning. Dry drowning occurs when a child breathes in water causing the vocal cords to spasm and cut off the airways. Secondary drowning occurs when water gets into the lungs and causes pulmonary edema (a condition where fluid fills up the air sacs in the lungs and makes it difficult for someone to breathe).
Some warning signs to watch out for at the pool are: difficult or labored breathing, drowsiness or low energy, vomiting, coughing, chest pain, and a sudden change in mood.
Secure Swimming Pools
The most important precaution you should take is fencing off your swimming pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends surrounding pools with a fence that’s at least 4 feet high, free of openings or wide slats, and equipped with a gate that opens away from the pool. The fence should also separate the pool from the house and have a gate latch that’s at least 54 inches from the ground.