When you send your kids to visit their friends this summer, it’s important to ask caregivers a few essential questions about water safety.
There are questions parents should always ask before their kids visit a friend’s house, and one important discussion to have is water safety. Summer play may involve fun at the pool, especially during warmer months, but drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4. So, it is important to ensure that the caregivers of any home your children visits practice simple water safety steps.
To keep kids safer in and around the water, ask these five questions before sending your child on a playdate to a friend’s home, especially during the summer.
1. Does your home or a neighbor’s home have a pool or spa?
All parents should first ask whether there is a pool or spa at the home or in the neighborhood within walking distance which children could access easily. If the answer is yes, this sets up an important conversation about water safety with the supervising adults.
2. Do the children plan to be in or around the water?
If the weather is hot, it’s a safe bet that kids may want to visit a nearby pool during a playdate. Always ask the supervising adults whether visiting a pool or spa is part of the day’s plan. If your kids indicate that they will be swimming with their friends, use the Pool Safely Kids’ Corner. Adults should take a look at the Pool Safely safety tips, as well.
3. Will there be adults supervising the children, if they are in or around the water?
Close supervision is essential when children are in or near a pool or spa. This is why it is so important to designate an adult “water watcher” to keep an eye on children in the water, and never leave them unattended, even if a lifeguard is present. Water watchers should not be using their phones, reading books, or otherwise distracted. If a group of adults is present, they can take turns being water watchers to allow everyone to have an enjoyable time and ensure that someone always has an eye on the kids.
4. Do the supervising adults know CPR?
Learning CPR can help save a life in the event of a drowning incident. Studies show that if CPR is provided immediately, it can double, or even triple, a drowning victim’s chance of survival. Adult supervisors and bystanders are often the first people available to aid a drowning victim, especially a child. Knowing that a supervising adult is prepared to perform CPR in case of an emergency will provide you with peace of mind if your child is spending time in the water while you’re not around.
5. Which barriers exist to prevent children from gaining access to the pool or spa unattended?
Children are naturally curious. Therefore, it is important to ensure that every home your child visits has proper barriers in place to prevent kids from gaining access to the water without adult supervision. Double check that the home has layers of protection around pools or spas because barriers, such as fences, covers and alarms, can be lifesaving devices for curious kids.
When you ask these important questions, you will not only help keep your kids safer, but you will also remind other parents about the importance of water safety. Spreading the word helps keep all kids safer in and around the water no matter where they are.