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There's nothing like a dip in the pool to cool off on a hot summer day. But before your children take the plunge, make sure they're well-versed in pool safety. Start by enrolling them in swimming lessons at a young age, then teach them these easy-to-follow tips from the American Red Cross.
Never let children swim alone. Keep an eye on them at all times and make sure there's basic lifesaving equipment nearby (a reaching pole, rope, ring buoy, and rescue tubes). If you regularly swim where there's no lifeguard on duty (such as your own pool), enroll in a local CPR and first aid course.
There's no harm in allowing your child to swim with inflatable toys-- just make sure they're not using them as life preservers. These toys can deflate, leak, and slip out from under kids in deep water, and create an unsafe situation.
Never let children run around a pool -- they can slip on standing water or fall into the pool. Enforce a no-running rule and, as a general restriction, keep glass away from the water.
Keep an eye out for potential hazards such as slippery spots or cracks on the deck, debris on the bottom of the pool, sudden drop offs, or malfunctioning equipment. And, be on the lookout for inclement weather. The National Weather Service suggests waiting at least 30 minutes after thunder or lightning before returning to the water.
Take "no diving" signs seriously. Jumping or diving into shallow water can cause spinal cord and other serious injuries. Also, ensure that any non-swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket and are accompanied by an adult.
If your children are going to play in the pool for longer than an hour at a time, set rest breaks. This simple practice can prevent fatigue for both the swimmers and whoever is watching the pool.