Baby learning to swim with instructor

Swimming is an almost perfect exercise. For all ages, it is invigorating and relaxing at the same time, while building muscle, increasing cardiovascular capacity and managing weight. When swimming with children, pool safety must be of the utmost importance. Rules are usually posted at public pools, and parents must instruct children about them every time they visit. Pool rules provide an important reminder about swimming safety basics, yet parents must keep an eye on children at all times, especially if there is no staff water watcher.

Typical Pool Rules:

  • No running around the pool deck.
  • No diving.
  • No glass in the pool area.
  • No swimming for children unless a water watcher is present.

Parent Rules:

Although the above rules are sufficient for experienced swimmers, they do not emphasize the importance of watching young children that are not well-prepared to swim on their own. Here are some rules for adults to follow when watching children in the pool:

  • Engage a water watcher (even if it is you) to keep ALL children under watch at all times.
  • When one-on-one, maintain consistent eye-to-eye contact with the child.
  • Maintain an arm’s length distance away from new swimmers when in the pool.
  • Do not be distracted or engage in other activities while water watching.
  • Only be relieved from duty by another responsible water watcher. Do not leave children alone, not even for a minute.
  • Set up rules for a buddy system for children, so they can understand the importance of watching other swimmers.

While establishing rules is important, children must also be taught to not go in the pool area when the gates are closed and no one is available to watch them. A tragedy such as a child drowning can be avoided when adults participate when there are children in the water.

Swimming Builds Confidence

Besides the health benefits, swimming also builds confidence in a child, and forms the trust relationship between a child and his or her swimming partner/parent. Living near a large body of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean, also makes it important for children to know how to swim. As they get older, there’s the possibility that they will be invited to join friends at either the ocean or private pools, and knowing how to swim will give them confidence.

Safety First in the Pool

Even though a young child can show that he or she knows how to swim, this does not drown-proof the child. Emotional maturity and physical capacity will have an effect on how skilled a child can become in the water at a young age. Encourage pool rule-following for your children whenever you visit a pool, especially when they are inexperienced in the water.

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