5 Precautions Before Taking Your Toddler to a Pool
It is a parent’s worst nightmare. I packed up my just turned 2 year old daughter and 3 month old baby boy last week to go on a play date with other moms and their children at a pool. The neighborhood pool had a baby pool that was 1 to 1.5 feet deep. My baby boy was asleep in his car seat and I was tending to my daughter in the baby pool. She was loving it and having a great time. I felt my face burning and realized that I hadn’t put sunscreen on my face. My daughter seemed fine with the other kids and there were 2 moms sitting on the edge with their feet in the pool. I got out to put sunscreen on my face.
As I was applying the lotion I looked up and saw my daughter floundering horizontally in the water. She had fallen over and couldn’t stand up to get air. I yelled “Annabelle!” and immediately ran into the water. In that split second I saw her little body trying to turn over and get her face above the water. You could see the instinct to survive in that little action. I immediately swooped her up in my arms and pat her back. I don’t think I took a breath until I heard her breathe. Thankfully, she didn’t require CPR and I had caught her in time. Of course, it is hard to stop your mind from wondering what would have happened had she didn’t make it. I know she is the Lord’s and He can take her whenever He wants, but I realized how much I loved her and would miss her if something happened to her.
Needless to say, we were a little shaken up. She was afraid to go back in the water for a little while after that. I felt like if I didn’t take her back in the pool that day, then she might stay afraid of pools. We slowly worked from the seat to the middle of the pool. I don’t think I let my eye (or even a hand) go off of her after that.
This incident reminded me that she can’t swim. Also, maybe I can’t handle going to the pool with both kids by myself, even with other moms around. At least for my own sanity I am going to keep pool visits this Summer without my husband to a minimum. I am planning to stick more with our backyard blow up pool. There are some safety precautions I could have taken first:
1. Don’t over estimate my toddler’s physical ability. I forget how much my little girl can’t do. She just learned how to jump up and down when she turned 2. I am thankful for things she can do, but I need to remember that she just doesn’t have the physical ability to do some things.
2. Wear floaties or a life vest. I have now realized why floaties are important! When we to the beach we borrowed a swimsuit that had a life vest inside the body suit. She looked a little silly, but I didn’t care. I love her enough to save her life!
3. Consider the depth of the water in the pool. The water in the baby pool came up to my daughter’s stomach and chest. My plan is to keep her in more shallow water when she is on her own in the future. We will go in deeper water too, but only when holding on to her.
4. Know CPR or at least refresh yourself. I have an idea of what to do if I need to do, but I am not sure if I really know it in case of an emergency. McKenna wrote a really good post about learning CPR here.
5. Teach my child how to float on her back. I hadn’t even thought of teaching Annabelle how to float yet, but I would like to begin working on it with her now. Here is a good video about how to teach your kid to float. It is practical and easy to follow.
I think my story may be common. Have you had a similar experience? Do you have any reservations about taking your toddler to a pool? Have you taught your toddler how to float?