You want to enjoy the experience of watching your child discover the joys of the swimming pool. But kids and toddlers will need special thought to make sure their introduction to the water is positive, and most of all, safe. Here are some tips to help with introducing the kids to the swimming pool
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for youngsters, one of the biggest things to watch for is overexposure to the sun.
Young bodies can’t handle much exposure, so the AAP recommends avoiding sun by the use of clothing – long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats. That way, the toddler doesn’t need sunscreen to regulate the exposure. When necessary, a small amount of sunscreen can be used on the face and back of hands. Also, limit time in the sun around 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest.
Always within reach.
A child should not be left unsupervised, and young babies or toddlers should be held at all times. It doesn’t take long for a toddler to get in trouble – just a gulp of water at the wrong moment can send a child into a panic, so be able to respond to situations that might arise.
There are some wonderful resources online, such as this article about building layers of protection for the safety of a child, this discussion of pool safety issues, and this specific outline of pool safety for toddlers and twos.
Have the toddler or baby wear a life jacket, even while they are being held at the pool. Finding the proper fit for a child is mostly determined by weight – children between 8 to 30 pounds will wear an infant jacket, and between 30 to 50 pounds, a child-sized jacket. Children will react to life jackets differently, so have your toddler or baby try it on before being around water, to make sure the child is comfortable.
Barriers for safety.
A fence around the pool prevents a toddler from accidentally wandering out into the pool area. The fence should be at least four feet high, have no footholds that a child could use to help climb, and have a self-latching gate with an alarm. If the house provides a barrier on one side, consider adding an audible alarm on doors with access. If there are windows that open on to the pool area, have alarms on those as well.
A swimming googles can help your kid in swimming and also encourage him to put their face in the water. One of the reason, kids don’t like to swim is because their eyes get sore in chlorinated water. A swimming google will protect your child’s eye against the chlorinated water and provide comfort and will undoubtedly enjoy their enhanced vision under the water.
Model the fun of water.
Children will respond differently to being brought to the pool. Watch for those differences, and work with them.
- If your toddler responds positively, and takes to the water with a big smile, just allow them to have fun. While holding him against your chest, gradually let the child feel the water on his body, and smile while you’re doing it, to signal “this is fun.” The child will quickly pick up on and respond to this reinforcement.
- Another toddler may be hesitant or fearful about being introduced to the water. Don’t force the child at this point. Gradually allow the child to see that the water is not frightening. While Dad holds the baby not far from the pool, have Mom go in the water and splash around, smiling and happy, to model “fun!” If the toddler wants to venture near the water while Mom is in it, consider that a success, and if the child sits down next to Mom by the side of the pool, that’s wonderful.
By providing a safe environment through the use of barriers, considering things like exposure to the sun, and keeping kids always within reach, parents will be rewarded by smiles and laughter as the toddler figures out that the water is a fun place to be.