How can i make sure my child is safe in the pool?

Getting into the right habits, making sure your child has the right equipment... We will go over everything you need to know to get them swimming safely!

Do you think the time has come for your child to experience the joys of bathing and swimming? We agree that it is never too early to start enjoying the benefits of the water! And, like you, we are concerned about the safety of little ones as they discover this element.

How to safely take a child to the pool

1/ Teach your baby good habits

For children under 4 years old, the best way to introduce them to the experience is to do so in a pool suited to their size, which you can install in your garden. While they are getting used to the water, small collapsible or inflatable pools are a perfect transition before moving up to a larger swimming pool. When the time is right, take your child to the pool! It is the best place for them to get to grips with the water and learn to swim. Especially if you have several children, because you will be under the watchful eye of lifeguards, which is always reassuring. 

How to keep your child safe in the pool

And since we know that it's never easy for anyone to supervise kids constantly, there are a few lessons you can teach them to give your child the right instincts and reactions in the event of a fall. They can be summed up in three words: immersion, flotation, propulsion. Get them to practise the following:

1. Falling in the water, holding their breath,

2. Getting into a safe position on their back (starfish), floating,

3. Kicking their feet to get to the edge,

These habits can be learned by children from the age of three but need to be repeated and worked on many times in the pool. Consider looking into any "drowning prevention" programmes in your local area. These are interim classes between baby swimming sessions and swimming lessons that teach children survival instincts in the event of a fall in the water but also the basics of swimming. And give simple instructions, such as: "if your child loses sight of you, they must wait for you at the end of the pool where they can stand up, or at the edge of the pool".

2/ Swim rings, armbands, belt, vest... what swimming equipment should you choose for a child?

To make happy memories in the water, there are plenty of products out there to help young swimmers get their bodies in the right position for learning to swim. These products provide excellent buoyancy and allow you and your child to feel confident and safe.

You can, for example, get them to wear inflatable armbands, which pack away nice and small, or foam armbands, which are puncture-proof, to get their first contact with the water off to a good start. A swim seat is also a good compromise for little ones. It gets your little swimmer into a comfortable position to discover what is going on around them, while you pull them around using the handles at the sides. Get them to play floating games to encourage them to move around in the pool. All these accessories will make your little one feel comfortable and will keep them safe by stopping them from going under the water.

How to keep your child safe in the pool

Next your child will learn to move around in the water. There are lots of products related to this stage that will allow them to move from a vertical position to a horizontal one. Things to help them glide for the first time on their stomach and back and begin to develop their first swimming techniques. A swim belt is a good accessory to work on their front and back balance, and to learn the very first swimming strokes.

To help you choose your equipment correctly, we asked a lifeguard a few questions. Here are his answers:

"It might seem obvious, but how the parents behave in the water or at the poolside is key. If the child only ever hears "be careful, the water is dangerous…", "it's cold in the pool" or "don't let your ears go in the water", they will not be as confident in the water as someone who hears "you will see, the water is great!"

"As a lifeguard, when a parent asks me for advice, before choosing a swimming aid for their child, I observe how the child behaves around the pool and in the water. For a child experiencing the water for the first time, the most important thing is to keep their head above water using swimming aids. Armbands are an excellent solution because the support under the armpits is very reassuring and this will give the child confidence."

"As soon as the child is comfortable in the water, a swim vest will give them more freedom of movement. Wearing a vest can be a good transition between armbands and a belt because it provides buoyancy both front and back. Once the child is able to lie on their stomach, I recommend a foam belt because it will help them learn horizontal balance, which is what you need to be able to swim. Then, positioning a pool noodle under the child's arms will make them more stable as they move around."

3/ At the beach, lake or a private pool: always be vigilant!

Once they have discovered the water, the next step is taking your children to the beach, a lake or the sea, or going on holiday to a place with a swimming pool. You will need to be constantly vigilant and, ideally, with your children in the water. This is also the perfect time to come up with some fun games to help them improve their swimming technique while under your supervision.

If you have a lilo or a giant swim ring to play on in the water, be careful! These are not flotation devices and if your child slips off the object somewhere they cannot touch the bottom, you need to be able to intervene quickly.

Even if your children are playing quietly in the sand on the beach, you still need to watch them. It is not uncommon for little ones to suddenly wander off to look for water without any concept of danger and without an inkling of fear. Once at the water's edge they may not realise they are going too far in and without their buoyancy aids. As a rule of thumb, if the children leave the area of your towels or parasol, be on your guard!

Are you going on holiday to a villa with a swimming pool? Playing in the pool will occupy a good part of your days! But before that, establish some simple rules: no one goes in the water or around the pool on their own. And lock up the pool as soon as you plan to move away from it.

How to keep your child safe in the pool

4/ Play games to keep an eye on everyone

Want to make sure your kids are always in sight? Set up some pool games for them. Dodgeball, water polo, ball games or rings to retrieve from the pool or the sea floor, the goal is to keep them occupied, tire them out and stay close so that you can watch them without them getting bored! And once play time is over, follow it with snack time as a family.

What about smaller pools in the garden?

Never leave little ones alone in inflatable or collapsible pools. One of the rules we give to parents the first time they take their kids in the water is to never let them out of their sight, regardless of how deep the water is. And you can play pool games with them to get them used to the aquatic environment!

To make the most of this brand new playground, children need to become familiar with the aquatic world from an early age, then learn to swim as soon as possible. This will then allow them to have fun in the water in complete safety.



Guide writer


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