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A PSA about watching kids at the pool - Page 2

post #21 of 34

I went to a gathering recently that was meant to be a professional meeting but "kid-friendly." It was at a lake. I was picturing we'd meet and talk by the edge of the water, the kids playing at our feet. What the organizer had in mind, it turned out, was for us to be sitting at picnic tables with maaaaaybe a partial view of the swimming area. My kids are 5 and 2.5, neither can swim without floaties. I opted to stay by/in the water so I could keep an eye on my kids, and I missed the meeting (except when I brought the kids over to get snacks.) A few people seemed really perplexed by this, as though I was being a helicopter mom or something. "There are two lifeguards," they kept telling me. Ah, you mean the two teens who look half asleep and keep chatting with each other instead of watching the water?

 

To me, lifeguards are IN ADDITION to parental supervision, not instead of. I thought this was a basic fact. Huh.

post #22 of 34

Swimming this summer is kind of shot for me because I have a two month old in my arms I want to keep out of the direct sun, and a three yr old who loves water and thinks he can follow his seven yr sister out to where she can swim. There's no way i would take them swimming without another adult to help me. We've been going in the evening with my husband and what usually happens is this, I wade in the water holding the baby and try to manage the toddler in shallow water while he swims out deeper with my daughter. Sometimes I have to go nurse the baby and I call them in to watch our son. I feel like he doesn't watch him closely enough and the whole time i'm just a nervous wreck!! I'd rather not go at all! But the kids love it.

My mom had my daughter at the pool when she was five and had to jump in right in front of the lifeguard to save her from drowning. It can happen so fast.

 

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielady View Post

I went to a gathering recently that was meant to be a professional meeting but "kid-friendly." It was at a lake. I was picturing we'd meet and talk by the edge of the water, the kids playing at our feet. What the organizer had in mind, it turned out, was for us to be sitting at picnic tables with maaaaaybe a partial view of the swimming area. My kids are 5 and 2.5, neither can swim without floaties. I opted to stay by/in the water so I could keep an eye on my kids, and I missed the meeting (except when I brought the kids over to get snacks.) A few people seemed really perplexed by this, as though I was being a helicopter mom or something. "There are two lifeguards," they kept telling me. Ah, you mean the two teens who look half asleep and keep chatting with each other instead of watching the water?

 

To me, lifeguards are IN ADDITION to parental supervision, not instead of. I thought this was a basic fact. Huh.


I can't believe anyone would be perplexed by you wanting to watch them in the water! They must not have been moms!

 

post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anuindi View Post




I can't believe anyone would be perplexed by you wanting to watch them in the water! They must not have been moms!

 


They were all moms! Most of their kids were older than mine, but there was one other 5yo with floaties on. Everyone else thought it was OK to be that far from their kids in the water because of the lifeguards. I guess everyone has their own feelings about water safety.

 

post #25 of 34
I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving them alone in the situation you described, either - and I'm usually on the more relaxed side of the spectrum.
post #26 of 34

My in-laws have an above ground pool, so I guess it's about 4 to 4.5 feet deep?  They send my brother-in-law out to swim by himself all the time (he's 12).  He's a decent enough swimmer but that's really a new development because before this year he really wasn't all that coordinated.  It makes me super nervous every time they send him out...they rarely go out with him.  I usually ask him to wait a bit until his mom or I can go out and sit out there with him and every time they basically say "oh no, it's fine he can go alone".

 

I grew up with a pool in our backyard and spent hours a day in it but my mom NEVER let me in it unless she was next to the pool or on the porch about 5 feet away.  I knew that I had to wait until she was done cleaning, etc and could come out with me.  I found it annoying but I understood and I never went in the pool if I was the only person home, I still don't.  It's just not safe and I don't understand how my in-laws can be so non-chalant about letting him swim unsupervised.

 

I'm a certified lifeguard and I definitely think that people should pay more attention to their kids while they're in the pool.  Things can happen so quickly and the lifeguard can only look in so many places at once.

post #27 of 34

I swim with my girls.  I taught them how to swim and I stay by them.  Now I'm letting them swim alone while I sit and watch.  I won't leave them in the pool by themselves just yet.  It's not an age thing either it's all of us being ready.  They certainly don't seem to have a problem with it and would rather me swim with them.  They love that part. 

post #28 of 34

I have a pool in my backyard and I'm pretty lenient, but I wouldn't let one child go into the pool alone.  I don't even think I should be in the pool alone, but I will do it on occasion.  I generally sit on the patio or deck to watch my children in the pool (who are 12 and 7), but this summer I've also left the door open to the deck so I could do some things in the kitchen and still hear them, and pop out on the deck every couple of minutes, but it's easier just to sit out there with them.  My kids never want to swim by themselves, however, they find that incredibly boring.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PumpkinButts View Post

My in-laws have an above ground pool, so I guess it's about 4 to 4.5 feet deep?  They send my brother-in-law out to swim by himself all the time (he's 12).  He's a decent enough swimmer but that's really a new development because before this year he really wasn't all that coordinated.  It makes me super nervous every time they send him out...they rarely go out with him.  I usually ask him to wait a bit until his mom or I can go out and sit out there with him and every time they basically say "oh no, it's fine he can go alone".

post #29 of 34

I had an experience like that, which was an absolute nightmare, my DD was 26 month old and DS was just born, a couple of days old. We were at a water playground with friends, and my friend had my dd in the water, the water level was maybe 15 inches, maybe even less, and she turned to talk to her DH, who was with her son, DD slipped and fell, and got her head under water and my friend did not recognize it! I was screaming from the edge, in absolute panic, I was not even able to get to her myself (which is rather ridiculous, since she was maybe 15 m away) and my friend kept talking to her DH, for what felt like an eternity! DD did not get her head above the water on her own, and it took ... I don´t know, having been in this state of panic, but I guess around 20 - 30 sec until my friend recognized me and pulled DD out of the water. 

She was unharmed, and did not even develop a fear of water, but I have! I am sooo careful around it, and I really want them to learn how to swim, but she does not know it yet, and DH is not allowed to go to the pool with DD (5) and DS (3) without me, since he has ADD and I will so not take chances!

 

 

post #30 of 34
For the backyard pool, our family rule is no kids swimming by themselves. For the older nieces and nephews (ages 8 and 10), an adult actively watching them is okay but for the younger kids, there is always an adult in the pool and at least one on the deck. The ratio for the kids that are in the 3-6 range is 1 adult to 2 kids but for the little ones, it is one on one. The older kids don't wear them but all the younger ones wear lifevests.
We don't go to the public pool with our kids because it is so chaotic and it is much harder to watch them there. An important thing to remember is that drowning people don't make a lot noise.
I know this sounds a little extreme but I also have good reason for the rules we use. Last summer, my 3 yr old went swimming at least three times a week and was very confident in the water. At the end of June, my mom had a swim party at their house and there were about 10 children and 18 adults in and around the pool. I had been in the pool with my 9 month old son and my daughter and had decided that my son needed to go inside for a bit so I also told my daughter she had to get out. Another parent told me they were getting in and that they would watch her and I had another adult also volunteer to keep an eye on her. I had been inside for about three minutes when I looked out the window and saw my daughter floating face down in the water.
I ran outside, jumped in and pulled her out before anyone even saw her. She was unconscious, was not breathing and her skin was blue. Of all the adults there, none knew CPR except for me. Most of them were in complete shock and did nothing but watch.
I do not know how long she was under but I know she was without oxygen long enough to start having seizures. After the longest stretch of my life, I was able to revive her. She started crying at the same time that the paramedics arrived. She spent a night in the hospital and although she is not afraid of the water, she still asks me about "when she went under the water and got sick."
At the hospital, the doctors and staff repeatedly told us that we should always make sure there are adults watching. There were 12 adults on the deck or in the water when my daughter almost drowned and she was wearing floats. Whether it was distraction or people just didn't realize what they were seeing, she almost died. Around water, I think there should always be at least one person that is doing absolutely nothing other than watching the kids and that they should switch out so that the attention span doesn't wander. I also think it is critical for parents and caregivers to learn CPR and refresh their training on a regular basis.
post #31 of 34

I'm always in the pool with my 3 year old. He's pretty confident in the water, but gets silly and loses his footing often. This makes him go under the water, and b/c it was a fall (vs. intentionally dunking) he panics and can't remember how to stand up, or gets too startled to correctly place his feet back under him. I pluck him out from under the water a few times every time we go swimming (every week to 2 weeks).  (we're generally only in thigh high water or so)

If he's in his life jacket, he's allowed to swim away from me a little farther - but I'm still in the water with him. Without his life jacket I'm usually within about arms reach. 

If I know for some reason I'm going to be distracted..talking, doing something - he wears his life jacket and is told to play out of the water for a bit. He can take it off again once I know my full attention is on him - he's very impulsive and a runner, so it makes me extra cautious.

post #32 of 34

I agree with staying close to our little ones in or near the pool. I felt I could relax a bit when they could swim the width of the pool. As I recall, that was around 6 or so but is different for all kids obviously. I was also always counting noses. 1,2,3,4 as we crossed the street or did anything else. LIke the Ducklings. And, I was also a lifeguard and while they can be good, they can't see everything so it's not safe to rely on them until our kids can swim by themselves. And, of course, there is no social pressure on earth that can dispel that fierce Mama protectiveness. Trust it. 

post #33 of 34

I grew up with a pool and a lake in the back yard, and I don't remember any supervision.  Also, I'm a very laid back mom.  So it always surprises me at how anxious I am with my kids around water.  I just have come to the conclusion that no one will watch them like a mom.

 

My good friend told me about how she had gone to a water park with a group, and when she had to use the restroom, she announced it to the group and said they needed to keep an eye on her 10 yo daughter.  They all said yes, they'd watch her.  When she returned, she was scanning the pool for her girl and finally spotted her- on the bottom motionless.  The little girl was finally resessutated, but it's like my friend said:  "She drowned that day.  Just because she was brought back doesn't mean she didn't drown."  Point of the story- never leave your kid with a group.  If you must leave the child, appoint one person in charge.

 

My own story is that I was invited to go to a river with a group of friends.  My beautiful friend who had organized the outing invited me by telling me that she knew how hard it would be to be by water with two little ones (18 mo's and 3.4 at the time), and she had already arranged for her high school aged neighbor to buddy up with the 3.5 yo.  I was mostly paying attention to him anyway, and I didn't think anything of it when he came up on the bank to get a snack.  Ten minutes later, the high school girl comes over with a sigh of relief and says, "I'm so glad he's here.  I didn't know where he was."  So the point of that story is be discerning about who that one person is who is watching your child.  I can really only think of a small handfull of moms I would trust, and then only for a really short time.

 

post #34 of 34

At my pool, it is one (non-swimming) child to one adult.  The adult must stay within arm's reach of that child.  Any other non-swimming children in the family must wear lifejackets - the pool even provides these, AND they still aren't allowed to go in deep water.  They will only call a child a "swimmer" once they pass the full swim test: jump in the deep end of the pool, and swim all the way across the pool and back without touching down, then climb out of the water without the ladder.  It is a very strict test!  I'm not even sure I could pass it, LOL.  But, now that I've spent the summer going to the pool with my two non-swimming kids, I'm glad the rules are set up like they are because I don't have to fight with the kids about it (they are older and think they can swim, but they can't).

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