- if you're babysitting for a family that has a pool, you may be thinking what great fun it will be to play with the kids in the water, top-up your tan at the same time and get paid for it. But pools are dangerous places, particularly for young children, and extra vigilance is needed to keep the little ones safe
There are several things a babysitter needs to know about pools and other water hazards: -
- If a family has a pool or hot tub you must always know exactly where the kids are and must never take them in the pool without the parents' permission
- You should learn CPR - this is an important 'Life Skill' to have under your belt and will possibly result in more babysitting work!
- Doors and/or gates leading out to the pool must be checked for security regularly to ensure that a wandering child cannot pass. Keep gates and doors that give access to the pool or hot-tub locked at all times
- Responsible parents will have taught their offspring how to behave around the pool but, in the absence of parental supervision, the kids may try to push the boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour
- Ask the parents what their own 'Pool Rules' are and make sure the kids don't take advantage of you by pushing limits and breaking those Rules
- Additionally, tell the kids that while you're in charge, your rules apply and you're going to make sure that they stick to them!
- A child must never be left unattended anywhere near a pool or any other drowning hazard. Children need constant supervision when they're around water and they must never be left alone anywhere near the pool, play-pool or hot-tub, not even for the briefest of moments
- All kids get distracted when they are excited and having a good time, and they might forget the Rules for a moment, so it is up to the babysitter (THAT'S YOU!) to keep control of the situation and ensure that kids stay safely within the Rules and the limits of their own ability
- Kids may try to impress their babysitters by showing-off their abilities but remember that even good swimmers can drown if they get into difficulties in the pool so don't allow yourself become distracted by reading, watching TV, phoning your friends, doing your homework or anything else - it only takes a moment for a child to slip beneath the surface and, once out of sight, they can drown very quickly
- NEVER allow kids to hyperventilate before trying to swim underwater as this can lead to Shallow Water Blackout - where a swimmer loses consciousness with no warning whatsoever. If the child is underwater when this happens they will drown within a couple of minutes
- Indoor pools present additional risks because the access is often easier than a fenced outdoor pool. You must know exactly where kids are at all times and physically check doors to ensure they are securely locked
- Play pools are also a potential hazard and should be emptied and inverted when the kids have finished playing in them for the day
- And here are some additional Pool Safety Tips
Remember that drowning is a silent killer - no screams, no splashing, no cries for help, no second chances
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Ken Walker - MyPoolGuru©