It may still be winter, but summer will be here before you know it. That means pool party season is coming!
Pool parties are a great way to get your child outdoors, mingle with their friends, cool off, and really just have fun! However, drowning is the leading cause of death between children aged zero-through-four and two-thirds of drownings occur at planned activities like pool parties. Therefore, pool parties should be planned thoroughly to ensure that safety is the top priority.
Before hosting a pool party, ask yourself these questions:
- Have I established ground rules for the pool?
- What will active supervision look like?
- Am I certified in CPR?
- What types of pool toys and games will be allowed?
- Where will the children go after swimming?
Life Saver Pool Fence is here to help you have the safest pool party possible!
1. Have I Established Ground Rules for the Pool?
Before your children and their friends enter the pool area, make sure that you have gone over your pool rules with them. Let the children know that if they do not follow the rules, they will not be allowed in the pool anymore. Remember, these rules are for your child’s safety! Here are a couple of rules that we recommend your using at your party.
- No running.
- No splashing (children can choke when water is splashed in their face).
- Use the bathroom, not the pool.
- No rough play.
- Stay away from the pool drain.
- No diving or jumping into the pool.
- No dunking.
2. What Will Active Supervision Look Like?
Life Saver Pool Fence recommends that you have at least one active supervisor per five children. If there are 15 children at the pool party, then three parents must be designated as active supervisors. The parent(s) chosen as the active supervisor is the official lifeguard for the party. No matter what, keeping a close eye on those kids must be the supervisor’s priority.
An Active Supervisor Must:
- Stay off their phone.
- Be a strong swimmer.
- Not be drinking alcohol.
- Be close to the pool.
- Limit conversation with other guest to avoid distraction.
- Enforce the pool rules.
- Watch all children diligently.
- Be ready to enter the pool at any time.
- For children aged 0-5, the active supervisor needs to be in the pool with the children and remain within arms reach at all times.
Review these expectations with all of guests before children get into the pool.
Now of course, parents should take turns as the official active supervisor. After all, it won’t be much fun for one person to spend an entire pool party on guard!
Here’s how we recommend breaking it up: at the beginning of the party you can create a sign-up sheet that includes time frames for when each parent will be actively supervising. We recommend assigning supervisors to 15 to 20 minute intervals. This way, everyone will stay safe and everyone has the chance to have fun!
3. Am I Certified in CPR?
Before hosting a pool party, you should do your due diligence and become certified in CPR. Or, make sure that at least one of your guests is certified (the more the better). For more information on becoming certified in CPR, click here (insert article about CPR certification). A drowning can happen in seconds and each second counts. CPR significantly increases the chance of survival.
4. What Types of Toys and Games Will Be Allowed in the Pool?
Swimming toys and games should be suited to the age group and swimming levels of those at the party. Keep these factors in mind when picking out swim toys and games for the party.
- Swim Rafts – A child can be flipped over, either accidentally or intentionally. If they are not a strong swimmer, the shock from the flip may limit their ability to stay afloat or get back above water. If you decide to have swim rafts at your party, make sure you add “No Flipping the Rafts” to your ground rules.
- Toys that Sink (golden coins, etc) – Toys that sink to the bottom of the pool must be kept away from the pool drain. If a sunken toy is near the pool drain, the child might get stuck from the pressure of the drain.
- Pool Noodles – If you use these, use them with caution. Older children often use noodles as weapons. Make sure that the noodles are not abused and that they are used for flotation only.
Life Saver Approved Games:
- Marco Polo – Children are quiet and can stand safely in the pool during this classic game.
- Races – Two children can participate at a time & all other children must be out of the pool. Make sure that both the children in the pool and the children in the pool area who aren’t swimming are properly supervised.
Games / Activities to Avoid:
- Diving contest (unless all other children are out of the pool)
- Breath-holding contests
- “Chicken Fight” or “Shoulder Wars”
- “Noodle Joust”
- Belly-flop contest (belly flops just hurt!).
- Throwing children in the pool.
- Games that require flotation devices (these can obstruct the view of the pool)
Remember that children are naturally competitive. They will do almost anything to win without thinking of the consequences of their actions when they are in the heat of the moment. There are many other pool games that children can play. But, with all games use discretion and ask yourself “Is this game safe?” or “Is there any way a child can drown from playing this game?”. You also should consider the age group and their swimming ability when picking out games.
5. Where Will the Children Go After Swimming?
Wet children running around equals slippery surfaces. Create a plan for when children exit the pool. Have pool towels ready for all children once they get out of the pool (the more towels, the better). Be sure to securely lock the removable pool fence behind you after leaving the pool area so that no children can reenter the area unsupervised. If your child has to use the restroom, make sure that they are completely dry before they enter the house.
That’s it! Happy Pool Partying! Your guests will appreciate you for taking the time and effort to create a safe and fun environment for the children.