Pools and little kids tend to stress even the best parents out. Drowning is a real concern for all parents. And no one wants that to happen to their kids. So, how can a parent ever take multiple young children to a pool and get to relax at all herself? Why even bother? I am not an expert at this, and am still trying to figure out the best way to keep an eye on all of my kids and still be able to do a little socializing or swimming myself. But, here are a few tips to make pool time safer for you and your kids.
Swimming lessons are offered for every age group from infant to adult. And any class that helps your child get used to being in the water, understand basic water safety, gain confidence in the water, and eventually how to swim without someone else an arm’s reach away or without a flotation device is invaluable to your piece of mind! Swim lessons can even start within your own home as your give your child a bath and teach them to blow bubbles, and not be afraid to put their face in the water. And lessons can be taught by a friend, yourself, your spouse, or someone else who is certified or a great teacher. Knowledge is power when it comes to swimming and water safety. Look into local classes or programs, but know that not all programs are the same, and some will do a better job of preparing your kids. And some children may need a more drastic approach. A timid kid may just need you to throw them in the pool fully dressed (in a class setting!) as you teach them how to swim.
When you go swimming and are worried about the safety of multiple young children, think about only going to locations that have lifeguards on duty. While they aren’t a fool-proof method of preventing a child from drowning, they are an extra eyes and arms, who’s sole purpose is to watch out for your kids. Their presence can definitely help give you more peace of mind on a trip to the pool. Think about introducing yourself and your kids to the lifeguard(s) on duty too.
For your little ones who are between 30-50lbs, you can get a personal flotation device, like a Stearns Puddle Jumpers. We recently ordered one from StearnsFlotation.com for our 2 year old son, who is now 30lbs. These things are great! They are a learn to swim life jacket, are comfortable for the kids to wear, adjustable, and can definitely help you relax when your wild toddler or preschooler thinks they are indestructible at the pool! And they come in a variety of cute and color designs. Knowing your child has a Coast Guard approved flotation device can definitely help give you some peace of mind while at the pool. But, even with your child(ren) wearing a Puddle Jumper, I know lots of children still prefer to stay close by and keep a 1:1 child to adult ratio, especially in the deep end of the pool.
But, even with your child(ren) wearing a Puddle Jumper, I know lots of children still prefer to stay close by and keep a 1:1 child to adult ratio, especially in the deep end of the pool.
Another option, if you really want to do some socializing and relaxing, is to just pull out or blow up a baby pool in your own yard. Invite some friends over and let the kids splash in a very small amount of water.
Or you could also just take your children to a local splash pad. I know in Indianapolis (where we used to live) there were several free splash pads available throughout the city at various city parks. The kids (and you) could still enjoy getting wet, but not have to worry about drowning. Other (older, bigger) kids pushing, shoving, and running into your toddlers, yes, but not of drowning.
Equip yourself with some knowledge, and get CPR certified! It can help you remain calm in event of an emergency.
Shallow wading areas in rivers or lakes
When selecting a place to go swimming, choose carefully! Opt for pools that have a great, shallow wading area or baby pool, preferably with gradual entrances. If going to a river or lake, find one that offers a shallow portion.
Rules and Expectations Ahead of Time
And like most things, prepare your children ahead of time. I am a firm believer in talking to your children before you go somewhere, whether it’s grocery shopping, to a friend’s house, or playing outside, about some rules and expectations you have of them. When heading to the pool, remind them that they cannot run when outside the pool, go past the safety rope, that they need to stay along the wall, always have on their Puddle Jumper, or whatever your rules may be and the situation calls for. When you do it ahead of time, like on the drive over, it helps them listen and remember, because too often once you get to a destination, especially a fun one, they aren’t really listening to you anymore. Plus, you can set rules that if broken, may result in leaving to go home.
Toys and Games
Bringing water toys, boogie boards, stuff that floats, or playing water games, can definitely keep your kids entertained. This may mean less of a chance of them getting bored and wanting to wander further into the pool than they should.
Go with Friends (or Hire a Sitter to come!)
Having an extra pair of hands and eyes and ears while at the pool is so helpful! If they don’t have kids, even better! They can then take a child one-on-one into deeper parts of the pool, or entertain your children more, or just stay within arms reach as needed. But, even if they also have their own motley crew of youngin’s, another person there with you is sometimes invaluable. Plus, how could you socialize if they weren’t there?
So tell me, what rules do you have when you take your kids to the water? Do you use a Puddle Jumper? And do you find you can relax at all with multiple young children at the pool with you?