Nothing beats a pool when it comes to beating the summer heat! Indoor or outdoor, a pool is like a wet playground for grownups and kids alike. Of course, there are lots of differences between taking an adults-only dip and enjoying the pool with young children. And it’s important to keep them in mind so that everyone stays safe and has a great time.
Here’s some advice for making sure the little ones have lots of fun and continue to love the pool as much as you do.
Enjoying the Pool with Young Children
- Childhood sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer later in life; slather your kid with water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and re-apply it every one to two hours and after getting out of the pool
- Know your child’s swimming abilities and stay close—within arm’s reach of those that aren’t decent swimmers (wondering when your child is ready for swim lessons?)
- For kids who can’t swim, use pool floaties so they can experience some fun floating and independence (but floaties are not a substitute for sticking close and providing constant supervision)
- Hold your baby or toddler by the armpits and pull him or her through the water as you walk backwards, varying your speed; just make sure to keep his or her head above water
- Be wary of too much jumping around or splashing; disturbances that you barely notice can be unpleasant and even dangerous to small children
- Remember that kids don’t regulate their body temperature as effectively or efficiently as adults, so factors like summer heat and chilly pool water effect them sooner and more drastically
- Kids tire out faster, too, and they often don’t communicate it well, so continuously monitor the way they’re acting
- A child who’s shivering or whose lips are turning blue needs a break to warm up
- Have ideas for age-appropriate and swimming ability-appropriate games to play in the water; get some inspiration here and here
- If you’re in a pool with splash pad features, a water slide, or a diving board, be wary of currents and other people that can affect young children, especially those that aren’t strong swimmers yet
- Swallowing or inhaling pool water or having it shoot up their nose can be a negative and scary experience for little kids, so do your best to prevent it and be reassuring and supportive if it happens
- Never leave toys or pool accessories in your home pool after you get out; your son or daughter may be tempted to try retrieving it
- Just to reiterate a classic rule, don’t let kids run around the pool