My concern is for my baby, age 11 months, who can walk. He is QUICK and rudderless. Of course I'll be with him the entire time, but I'm still *terrified* of him falling in the pool. I already have two others to track, and neither of them can swim yet either. Drowning is a pretty common killer of kids, so I don't think I'm being irrational.
Is there an appropriate life jacket for someone that small? Is there another safe and feasible option for him?
Hiring a sitter isn't an option. I could restrain him (e.g. stroller or carseat), but I'd really rather explore other options first. Ideas?
I would absolutely put him in a life jacket. Most of my friends with pools require anyone under 12 that can't swim and is on the deck/pool area to wear a life jacket. I would have no second thoughts about using a harness or stroller and I surely wouldn't give a crap what anyone thought either. Better safe than sorry.
(I have two kids, I've never had a runner. Runners scare the SHIT out of me. Thank goodness mine were never explorers. )
That would be a nightmare situation for me. Not just a drowning issue, but falling/slipping on the hard pool deck and hitting teeth or heads on hard concrete/tile.I would rather sit in the car during the lessons.
If you will be in the water near by I would get life jackets for everyone. They make them for infants, but they are not for playing in the water. They are designed to keep infants on their backs.
For toddlers and preschoolers, I love the puddle jumpers life jackets. Allows for lots of play.
If not then I would just keep him in the stroller for the lesson. 30 minutes goes by really quick.
Most city pools are in parks. In most of them, you can stay on the grass on the OUTSIDE of the pool, separated by a fence.
Most kids who drown are in situations where adults are drinking, or where there are lots of adults who all think someone else is watching the child. Although I can see how your 11 month old could fall in the water and get really scared, I seriously doubt he would drown. I just don't see that as a realistic fear in that situation.
but everything has pros and cons
I looked for a life jacket for my young baby and didn't find anything that would have been comfortable while playing in the heat for a half hour.The one we ended up with is sold at REI, I remember that, at least. Whether one would work well in the circumstances you're describing would depend on your LO and how willing he is to wear a life vest while playing.
I think it's a good idea to check out the pool before worrying too much. While I don't agree that all pools have a similar design (they don't in my area), what I think a lot of them do have in common is being fairly family friendly. I'd wager a bet that there is a play structure, a baby pool or at least a picnic area where you can pass the time.
If there isn't, passing a half-hour on a pool deck with three kids would kill me too - mainly because of the younger children wanting to get in the pool too! I'd probably drop-off and do an errand or take a walk with the other kids.
Side note - we're on our third summer of having an older child and and and infant/toddler. It's been interesting - each summer poses different challenges. My younger is now 2 and it will be interesting. In many ways easier because she can tag along on so many more things but the new challenge is that she is starting to feel left out... poor thing! To make matters worse, our pool only allows children 3+ in "the big pool" and doesn't allow older children in the baby pool. My two kids can't swim together at all. Oy!
On pool safety, the thing that stuck for me the most over the years is how often drowning is a silent thing - which is scary! But, I have to say that I don't think an 11 month old falling in the pool is all that big of a deal - not with the mom right there. I think it would be scary but not a life-threatening..and maybe a good education for your LO. This is based on absolutely NO research whatsoever. ;-)
One more thing...
My yonger's first swim lesson did A LOT of pool-side safety for the kids. They made them fall into the deep end, made them lunge for the wall and get to safety before learning to swim and etc. I think a good first swim class should have this!
That's an interesting rule. Is it a safety issue or more of a hygiene one? Do they not want kids with swim diapers in the big pool for fear of poop accidents cause then they would have to close the pool.
When I take both kids to swim lessons, we have a parent viewing area where the little one can wander around. I do bring the stroller so I can strap her in when its time to get the big one out of the pool and then changed in the bathroom.
I have no idea. It's not a common rule in our area pools - most "big pools" allow in-arms kids so long as their in a swim diaper. Our area is interesting in that there is a huge number of private pools and only a small handful of public pools. We're on an extended family plan with my SIL so we just take what we can get in terms of pool membership.
I MUCH prefer to swim in natural water and there are lots of opportunities for that where we live so I take every chance we can get to get the kids in the bay, the ocean, lakes, streams and etc.