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The 3 Mistakes Most Parents Make When It Comes To Pool Safety | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

With holiday season upon us, chances are you’ll be venturing somewhere with a pool this summer. 

And with another heatwave set to hit the UK in July – with talk of a 40°C “hot weather blast” in a matter of weeks – even British pools and lidos will be warm enough for kids to enjoy.

But Cathy Vance, a seasoned swimming instructor based in Austin, Texas, wants parents to know a few things before they take little ones swimming – whether abroad or in the UK. Especially as drowning is most common between the ages of one and four years old – and most drownings in children happen in swimming pools. 

Here are the mistakes around 90% of parents make when it comes to pool safety, according to Vance – as well as what we can all learn from them. 

1. Trusting flotation devices

Parents often misjudge the safety of common flotation devices such as puddle jumpers and water wings, suggests Vance, who adds they can actually “do more harm than good”.

This is because they condition children to stay upright in the water, which is the opposite of the horizontal position used in swimming.

“If a child unexpectedly falls into a pool, this conditioning can be dangerous as they may struggle to adjust,” the swimming instructor tells HuffPost UK. 

So, when choosing a flotation device, she urges parents to opt for those that promote a horizontal swimming position.

“However,” she warns, “remember, these devices are not foolproof. They are no substitute for proper swim lessons and continuous adult supervision.”

2. Thinking goggles are a necessity for kids

It’s a common misconception that goggles are an essential part of learning to swim, says Vance.

“In reality, they can lead to a false sense of security. Many children, accustomed to seeing clearly underwater with goggles, may panic and close their eyes when they unexpectedly fall into water without them.

“This panic, coupled with the inability to see, can disorient them, making it difficult to find the surface or the edge of the pool, increasing the risk of drowning.”

She says it’s crucial to get children used to opening their eyes underwater without goggles, so they then have the skills to navigate to safety in unexpected situations.

3. Thinking the pool steps are a safe place to be

The swimming instructor warns parents not to be lulled into a false sense of security when your child is playing on, or near, the pool steps.

“Many parents assume this area is safer, but sadly, it’s where many near-drowning experiences occur,” she says.

“Pools bustling with children can quickly become chaotic, with accidents occurring from rough play, thrown toys, or accidental slips.”

So, regardless of where your child is in the pool, constant vigilance is key.


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