Now the sun is (sometimes) shining and the summer is in full swing, many families are looking forward to spending time in a swimming or paddling pool. Whether you are jetting off to a villa with its own pool or just setting up an inflatable in your back garden, there are a few simple pool safety procedures you can follow to make sure your children stay safe and sound.
Keeping your pool clean
Keeping your pool clean and hygienic is essential if you want to avoid the unpleasant infections that can be caused by a build-up of bacteria. Here are our top tips for cleaning your paddling pool:
- Pools should be cleaned at least once a week to keep them germ-free and safe for little ones.
- Child-safe products such as Milton solution are ideal for killing off nasties. Dilute 30ml of Milton fluid or 1 standard sterilising tablet to every 500 litres of water. Once the solution is ready, it should be left for 30 minutes before emptying out and using.
- It is recommended that cleaning products are not added directly to any water that will be played in by children. Once the pool is clean, please ensure you tip it away and fill up with fresh water.
- Remove bits of debris like grass by skimming the surface on the water with a net at the end of every play session.
- If the pool does not have a cover, the water should be refreshed every few days.
- If you have a large garden pool and want to keep the water fresh and algae-free for longer periods of time (more than a few days), you will need to use a water treatment agent such as this Water Treatment Starter Kit sold by Argos. An electric filter may also be necessary.
While it is important to be aware of safety issues around water, there is no reason why children shouldn’t be free to have fun too.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state that children’s activities need to be as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible. This means parents should remain aware of potential dangers without being overprotective.
Here are some key tips for poolside safety:
- Teach children about basic water safety – don’t run near the pool, never to swim alone, don’t dunk or dive on other people, and always check the depth of the water before jumping in.
- Don’t rely on inflatables or arm bands for protection against drowning. These can aid swimming but are not life saving devices on their own.
- Teach your child to swim. Swimming classes will help children to gain confidence in the water and allow them to learn crucial water safety skills.
- Designate a particular adult to watch children during water play. It’s all too easy to assume that someone else it keeping an eye on things.
- Drowning children do not always cry out for rescue. Incidents can happen unseen and unheard, so stay vigilant.
- Be cautious about booking holiday homes or villas that do not have pool safety fencing. Some countries – such as the UK, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – all have swimming pool fencing laws, so do not accept unfenced pools in these areas.
- Ask your travel agent if the pool at your hotel has a lifeguard – an extra pair of eye can be very reassuring. However, you will still need to be aware of your children at all times as accidents can happen quickly.
- First aid courses save lives – learn how to resuscitate your child.