Tips to make your swimming pool safe!

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Swimming is an essential life skill and a great recreational sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is also one of the most popular summer activities in schools. But it’s important to know how to keep children safe in water. Here are a few safety tips for schools.

Swimming is a great exercise and immensely beneficial for health and fitness. It improves heart rate and blood flow, relaxes the mind and builds endurance. More and more children are now opting for swimming as a recreational sport.

School owners and administrators need to put in place arrangements for the safe use of swimming pool. These include developing rules for the safe use of pool and maintaining adequate fencing and gates. Besides, it is also important to manage the quality of the water in the pool.

Here are a few swimming safety tips which should be communicated to the swimming coach, teachers and all students:

  • Children should swim in designated areas, supervised by lifeguards.
  • Children should always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Display a resuscitation CPR chart on your pool fence/wall.
  • Make sure any water mats, lifesaver rings, inflatable vests and water wings meet the relevant Indian Standard.
  • Always watch children wearing flotation devices, to make sure they don’t tip upside down or slip through into the water.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call the local emergency number.
  • Ask children to protect their skin. Do not allow swimming during peak hours like 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Ask children to wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least SPF15.
  • Ask children to drink plenty of water regularly, even if they are not thirsty.
  • Explain children that everyone has to obey the lifeguards’ directions.
  • Each child should follow the pool rules, even if other children don’t.

Sometimes accidents also occur due to unsupervised access to the swimming pools. Here’s how you can prevent unsupervised access to the water:

  • Pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool.
  • The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.

It is important to understand that prevention and 100% supervision are the keys to keep children safe around water.

Coach Jitender Tokas is a certified WSI (American Red Cross); NIS Gold Medalist in coaching diploma from India; Certified Aquatics Director from aquatics partners (American Swimming Coaching Association); and ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Level 3 Coach with 10 years of experience including Head Coach of Elementary School and ASIAC swim team; Assistant Physical Education Teacher at American Embassy School; Head Coach at the Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram in Delhi; Head coach/President at the BGN Sports Club in Delhi; and Assistant Coach at the Swim Fast Swim Team, Florida, USA.