Very soon we will flee the city for greener and less-smelly summer pastures. The city is wearing it’s summer eau d’gar-bage and I’m feeling antsy for home. For the last two years I have spent part of July in my hometown where the little Bean can take six swimming lessons at the town pool for less than it would cost for one here in the city.
I have never been afraid of the water (insert ironic link to “blogger nearly drowns in freak party boat shipwreck on the Susquehanna River” article). I grew up swimming in the ocean and in community pools and for one brief shining moment I was on a swim team. I loved outdoor swim practice in Texas in the winter. When James, the former Olympian who coached us, pulled the cover off the pool in February, it steamed like a hot tub. Unfortunately, it turns out I hate swim meets. I quit after just one. My Dad said it was about as fun as watching a washing machine so I guess competitive swimming just isn’t in our DNA. I do, however, want the Little Bean to have the same love of the water I do. But I realize now that she’s a preschooler and mobile and impulsive, that teaching her (and learning for myself as a parent) the basics of water safety is paramount.
Underwriters Laboratories (an independent product safety certification organization that I totally hadn’t heard of but that has been around testing things like fire extinguishers and water since 1894) has teamed up with Disney to spread the word about water safety. UL issued a Pool Safety Tip Sheet that I’m just going to quote here, because I really can’t say it any better. It’s worth a read.
POOL SAFETY AT HOME
· If you have a pool at home, install a fence. The fence should be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that has a locking mechanism beyond a child’s reach.
· Cut overhanging tree limbs and remove chairs or ladders from the pool area to prevent children from climbing over the fence that surrounds the pool.
· Keep grates and drain covers in good repair and secured in place. Alert your family and guests to stay away from these devices, as the suction from drain outlets can be strong enough to cause entrapment of hair or body parts, which can potentially cause a person to drown.
· Make sure you know infant and child CPR if you own a pool.
BE SAFETY SMART WHILE SWIMMING
· Supervision is a must. Follow the 10/20 rule when you’re at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to position themselves to be able to scan the pool every 10 seconds, and reach the water within 20 seconds.
· Always have rescue devices, such as UL-LISTED life preservers, nearby.
· Flotation devices, toys and inflatable swimming aids are not safety devices. They are toys and can easily puncture and deflate.
· Always drain wading pools after children are done playing. Infants can drown in just a few inches of water.
· Have a telephone nearby and appropriate emergency numbers posted.
· Remove all toys when you leave the pool. Toys may attract children to the unattended pool.
So how do you discuss water safety with your kids? And what’s important to share with them? Let Timon and Pumbaa do the talking in this clever “Wild About Safety” video that covers basic pool and water safety in a fun, funny and kid-friendly way. I just watched the whole thing. I’m still humming the song from the end.
See you at the pool!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Underwriters Laboratories. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.