The more adults in a group the less supervised children seem to be. Everyone thinks that someone is watching the children and sometimes it seems to be no-one. It's understandable that when your own friends are around you want to chat and catch up with them but it's really important to remember that supervision is the number one
point of water safety.
The most at risk group of children in this scenario are the children who are emerging swimmers - they no longer need to be kept within arms reach while they're swimming, they can get their head up for a breath but either can't touch the bottom or aren't good at recovering to a standing position. Parents often think this group of swimmers are relatively 'safe'. The thing is this group of children fatigue quickly and often don't recognise their limitations. I have noticed parents not noticing a child that needs to be told to stop and take a rest. This is when children can be in real danger of a near drowning or drowning surrounded by people they know.
I don't want to be the fun police but here are some suggestions to make your day fun as well as safe for your children.
- If you're in a group of parents nominate a couple of people who are responsible for watching the children. These 'lifesavers' can be rotated so it's not always the same people's job.
- When you're in the pool (or poolside) with your children stand side by side with the adult you're talking to so you are facing your children rather than the adult you're speaking to.
- Have some pool noodles handy so when emerging swimmers fatigue they can swim on a noodle while they recover their strength.