Summer camp is a great way for your kids to get some down time – school is closed, they’re away making friends, enjoying the sun and having fun. While you’re helping your child pack and prepare for summer camp, remember the importance of safety, and especially pool safety. Any water can be potentially lethal for small and even grown children, as knowing how to swim does not necessarily equal safety in the pool. Unfortunately, Fourteen-year-old children and younger account for one in five people who are victims of drowning. What follows are some guidelines as to what you can do to help keep your child safe while they are enjoying the pool at their summer camp.
Pool Safety at Summer Camp Tips for Parents
First port of call, if your child can’t swim, you need to get them started, especially in South Florida. Learning to swim is an essential part of growing up here. You can enroll your child in swimming lessons by searching on the internet or ask other parents if they know of some good instructors. Sometimes the summer camp that they are attending will offer swimming lessons. Always remember that it is not a good idea to let your child go near water if they cannot swim.
You can take action yourself as well. Call up your prospective summer camp where your child will be attending and ask them about their pool safety. If they do not have a structured safety plan with rules and procedures in place, look for another summer camp.
Here is an example of some things that should be part of a summer camps pool safety policy:
- For the much younger children, at about two to preschool age, there should be a separate pool or pool time set aside. In addition to this, there should be counselors in the pool with the children.
- It’s a good idea to find a summer camp that has a pool buddy system in place. This is where each child gets “paired” with another child at swimming time, and intermittently the lifeguard will blow his whistle, the kids will stop swimming, and each pair will take each other’s hands and raise it so that the counselors and lifeguards can see
- Ask if the summer camp has all the basics needed for a safe pool experience, such as lifeguards, life jackets, whistles, safety nets for when the pool is not in use, as well as trained camp counselors
- Remember safety outside of the camp premises is equally important for example field trips to water parks.
You can also talk to your kids and make pool safety education fun and informative. If you child is nervous about being in the water, buy them a whistle and put a small rope on it so that they can wear it around their neck. Teach them to blow the whistle if they ever feel scared in the pool – you may want to inform the camp counselor about this beforehand.
Sun safety at the pool is just as important, dizziness due to dehydration may cause weakness in the water and consequently the potential to drown. Talk to your child and the camp counselor before camp and ensure your child drinks enough water and stays hydrated by the pool. Don’t forget to pack in sunscreen.
You and your child can take a trip to the store to get some poolside essentials. Ensure to buy nose pegs, as water can go up their nose and into the brain, which could cause infection. Swimming goggles help them see what’s going on around them underwater and can also protect their eyes from the chlorine in the water. Swimming vests and armbands are also a good buy, but do not solely rely on these.
You and your child can draw many benefits out of summer camp, but it’s also good to keep safety in mind and always check with camp counselors if you have any question or concerns.