Water Safety Tips for Infants and Toddlers

You have completed your spring cleaning, put all of the winter clothing away, finished everything on your to-do list, and stuck to that awesome workout plan you pinned back in January…okay me neither. But summertime is here none the less and that means it is time to hit the pool! Swimming is a great way to keep cool and keep the kids active. Putting a kid down after a pool party is the easiest night you’ll ever have as a parent. Follow these tips to make sure your little ones are safe during their summer fun!

Water Safety

Supervision:

  • Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision. That means no cellphone use at the pool!
  • Appoint a designated “water watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools. It is easy for conversation, food, and games to distract everyone.
  • Children should always be arm’s length away, providing touch supervision.

Gates, Fences, and Covers:

  • Install a fence at least 4ft high around all sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
  • Make sure pool gates open out from the pool and self-close or self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
  • If the house serves as the 4th side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and pool.
  • Large inflatable above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that it be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
  • Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a child underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. When using a spa, be sure to locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before getting in the water.

Equipment:

  • Keep a first aid kit poolside.
  • Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook - a long pole with a hook on the end - and life preserver) near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
  • Keep a phone near the pool in case of an emergency

Swimming:

  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.
  • Sizing for a personal floatation device (PFD) depends on his or her weight (and not chest size, as it does with adults):
    • Infant PFDs: 8 to 30 pounds
    • Child PFDs: 30 to 50 pounds
    • Youth PFDs: 50 to 90 pounds
  • For infants and small children, a PFD should have a:
    • Padded head support to help keep the child’s head above water.
    • Grab handle to assist retrieving the child out of the water.
    • Crotch strap to help keep the PFD from riding up.

 

According to the CPSC, an estimated average of 5,400 children younger than 15 were treated between 2012 and 2014 in emergency rooms for pool or spa-related submersion injuries every year, with 77 percent of the injured being younger than 5. Let's work to keep our children safe this summer season. Share with friends and family!