Home swimming pools should NEVER be considered safe for babies, toddlers, or young children. However, since people do have home...
Home swimming pools should NEVER be considered safe for babies, toddlers, or young children. However, since people do have home swimming pools, it's good to know how to make the pool at least a little safer.

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The CPSC offers many useful tips in their must-read booklet Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools (pdf). You can download this book for FREE. Covered are tips for creating a pool barrier, various types of barriers, preventing your tot from getting over, under, or through the barrier, indoor home pool safety, tips for spas and hot tubs, and lots more. If you have a pool and a baby you can't afford to not read this guide. Other safety tips: If you have a baby and a swimming pool it's essential that you know how to perform infant rescue breathing (CPR). Really all parents should learn CPR, but if you have a pool it's even more important. It's also smart to keep a how-to book near your pool area. People forget how to perform CPR when they panic. NEVER leave your baby alone near the pool. By alone, I mean alone for even 5 seconds. Small children can drown in under one minute. Small children also drown quietly. If you run in the house to grab the phone, and your little one falls in the pool, he probably won't yell or splash to alert you, he'll just drown. While safety barriers are smart, they don't act as one-on-one supervision. No pool barrier is 100%. Small children are clever, curious, and tiny. Many have broken through pool barriers of all sorts. Never have pool time when you (the caregiver) are tired, drinking, or otherwise preoccupied. Your child needs 100% of your attention while at a pool. Most children drown while being supervised so being completely alert is important if you want to avoid this statistic. Babies and toddler swimming lessons mean nothing when it comes to drowning. Yes they can learn to swim but studies show that baby and toddler swimming programs don't teach skills well enough for a baby to save himself. Swimming lessons do not make your baby drown-proof - even if your tot aced the class.

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Lastly - small children are brave and super fast! I've noted this before here, but when my son was under a year old, we lived on a beach. We’d walk near the ocean daily. One day, soon after Cedar learned to walk, he surprised me by taking off running and he literally jumped into the ocean (that’s him in the picture above). It happened so fast and quietly I was shocked. Luckily I was right there, but if I had turned away for a minute, he would have been out of reach quickly. My friend's baby girl Bella is the same way (she's in the picture at the top). Put her near a lake and she will run frantically from you and try to leap in. Lots of kids love water , are curious, and are also faster than the speed of light. Always be on 100% watch when near water with your tot.

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