The pool is right outside of the kitchen window. Will it really hurt anything to run in and put dinner in the oven? I mean, they know the rules. It will be really fast… Any parents who say these things to themselves are putting their children at risk. Supervision is absolutely necessary whenever a child is in the pool or the pool area. There are no exceptions. Ever.
Your toddlers know the rules, but they’re toddlers. They push boundaries and are easily distracted. Never take it for granted that they are safe without supervision. It is your vigilance that is keeping them safe – not rules, not circumstance, not safety measures. Those things are important, but without supervision, the other components cannot protect your child.
Silence Is Not Golden
In the movies and dramatic television shows, a drowning child flounders and splashes and screams. The frightening reality is that drowning is very quiet. Once that first gulp of water fills the lungs, the ability to yell for help is gone. You cannot count on a cry for help to indicate trouble.
Have you ever been to a party where there are several families and everyone thinks that someone else is watching the kids? This works until someone gets hurt or lost or their diaper leaks all over Aunt Helen’s antique sofa. The consequences of no designated supervisor for a group of children in a pool are even direr than the damage to Aunt Helen’s sofa.
It’s time to choose a designated pool supervisor. It does not have to be the same person all day long, but it does have to be definite. A “we’re all out here watching” approach is dangerous and ineffective. Designate the pool supervisor with a special hat or toy that reminds everyone (including the supervisor) who is responsible at that time.
Supervising toddlers in the pool is best accomplished through “touch supervision”. This means that the child is never further than arms-length from an adult, hence the “touch” part of the name. An adult can reach out and touch the child any time.
While older children may not need the high level of touch supervision that toddlers require, there should still ALWAYS be adult supervision. An adult should be watching swimming kids 100% of the time. They may not have to be in the water with the children, but they do have to be observing.
There is no substitute for adult supervision when it comes to pool safety.