Whether you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your garden, or are going on holiday to a property where there’s an outdoor pool, where children are involved, it’s essential to be aware of garden swimming pool safety.
When the weather is good and the temperature has risen, there’s nothing quite like cooling off in an outdoor swimming pool. Like adults, children love the opportunity to get in the water and swim, and are often particularly inquisitive about exploring the pool at a holiday property. However, as is the case with any form of outdoor water, swimming pools can pose particular dangers for children.
Accidents involving water and drowning can occur with any age group – adults included – but are most common in under six year olds. This is often because young children don’t yet understand the potential dangers of water and can’t resist the temptation of trying it out.
In other instances, it’s due to accidentally falling into pools that aren’t fenced off, or as a result of leaning too far over the edge of a pool and falling in. Even if children are used to water and have learnt to swim, there are still dangers involved, as some pools don’t have a shallow end and are unknowingly deep.
Garden Pool Safety Measures
If you have a swimming pool in your garden, you can take valuable steps to ensure safety measures are in place. For example:
- Erect a fence around the swimming pool with a gate that can be securely locked when not in use.
- Although inflatables, such as small dinghies or animal-shaped items, are fun when used safely, they can be dangerous where young children are involved (for example, drifting out into the deep area). So aim to keep their use at a minimum or only when responsible adults are around to supervise.
- Install a lifejacket or lifesaving ring by the side of the pool, so it can be used if an emergency situation occurs.
- Ensure you have details of any emergency telephone numbers and a telephone near the poolside, so they can be utilised in an emergency.
- Always make sure that children are supervised at all times when using the pool.
- Ensure the swimming pool is kept in tip-top condition, without cracked tiles (which may trip people up or cause accidental cuts) and with clean water.
- Ensure children know how to behave properly and safely when using the pool.
With swimming pools located at other people’s homes or at holiday properties, it’s a slightly different matter. Ideally, they will have thought of safety issues (especially at holiday properties) and implemented ways to make the area safe for children. However, as you’re not quite so much in control of how the pool is run, and may be unsure of how safe it is, it’s best to always supervise your children at all times and not let them use the pool without you being present.
Teaching Swimming Pool Safety to Children
Help your children to become aware of the importance of abiding by rules when in the vicinity of garden swimming pools by teaching them about swimming pool safety.
Ideally, this shouldn’t be done in an alarmist way, as it could end up putting them off water completely and learning to swim is a skill that they should ideally take up, but in a way that makes them aware of the potential dangers and how to avoid them.
For example, help your children learn about safe water habits, such as not running around the swimming pool area, not pushing others or pushing them under water, avoiding diving or jumping into shallow water, and not using any diving boards (until they are older or have received instruction on how to dive safely).
Teaching children how to swim is one of the most vital skills you can pass on. If you have your own pool, then you could begin lessons yourself, or enlist the help of a professional swimming teacher.