One of the toughest decisions an Atlanta mom must make when they have a pool in their home, is when to teach their little one to swim. Many people believe that babies should be taught to swim right away, while others believe that this is too dangerous and parents should wait until their child is at least five years old.
Teaching Early Saves Lives
Every mom has heard horror stories on the news or through friends about little ones drowning in a back yard pool. The tragedy hits home because their child is near the same age, and most moms sit and wonder what they would do if it happened to them.
Sadly, news stories often only focus on tragedies1 and not inspiring stories. A little research on the Internet will reveal that there are also many stories where babies also survive because they know how to float or tread water.
Teaching your infant to swim, float and survive in the water should be something you begin as they reach the crawling age. Once your baby becomes mobile, the pool becomes a risk. It is your responsibility as a parent to implement safety measures and ensure that your child knows how to swim and float.
Many organizations in your area, such as the YMCA, will offer infant swimming classes for babies as young as four month old. These classes not only help you teach your baby to swim, they also help you learn how to interact with your baby in the water.
Other Safety Concerns
Moms must also remember that entering the pool is not the only danger children face. There are also other concerns that must be addressed to keep everyone safe:
- Drain – Start teaching your child from an early age to stay away from the drain. Its suction may appear to be fun, but small ones can easily be pulled to the bottom of the pool2 within seconds with catastrophic results.
- Filter – Teach your little ones to avoid the filter area and all the mechanical parts associated with this device. Small fingers can easily get into the water vents and they can get hurt. Children ages five to eight year should so be warned about sticking things into the filter for “fun,” as the device can clog and malfunction.
- Chlorine – Pool chlorine poses a large risk to children, especially if ingested. The concentration of the chemical is at 12% to 95% before dilution in water, so make sure that all maintenance and cleaning supplies are stored safely out of their reach. Teach them to avoid the filter area that contains the chlorine, and always check your pool's chlorine levels before going in the water.
- Tiles – Teach your child from a very early age that the tiles can become very slippery when they are wet. Prohibit running around the pool area and have children wear water shoes for traction if needed. Atlanta hospitals treat a large amount of injures that occur from falls on slippery tiles.
A Homeowner’s Legal Responsibility
Many homeowners do not realize the responsibilities, as well as legal risks, of pool ownership. Taken lightly, you could find yourself on the other end of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Don’t assume that posted signage such as “Swim At Your Own Risk” will protect you from a lawsuit. If faced with such a suit, there are many Atlanta personal injury lawyers that can assist during this trying time.
As the homeowner, you are responsible for injuries sustained when others are swimming and are also responsible for what happens when the pool is not in use. Unsupervised children are often the victims of accidental drowning as it only takes a brief distraction for tragedy to occur. Even if someone wanders onto your property without your consent or knowledge, you must protect yourself by doing the following:
- If a child goes missing, check your pool first
- Install a gate or fencing that completely surrounds the pool and is at least 4 feet with self-closing latches too high for little hands to reach
- Install an alarm that alerts you when the water’s surface is broken
- Install a cover and use it whenever the pool is not in use
- Make sure everyone in the household knows CPR and keep rescue equipment in good working condition near the pool
- Make sure that your homeowner’s policy includes the minimum recommended coverage for pool-related accidents
Should you teach your baby to swim? Yes. They will have a better understanding of the water and be less fearful of it early on. For your legal protection and peace of mind, make sure that you and other family members are always diligent about pool safety.
While aquatics are not Domonique Powell's strong suit, her children are natural water babies. She was savvy enough to have them take swim classes in Atlanta, and plans to do the same herself as part of her bucket list. While she isn't a pool owner, she appreciates the help that Atlanta personal injury lawyers have provided to her on other legal questions.