I read an article that was all over the news last week about a mother of twins who found her sons dead in their family pool. It tore at me, and I realized that it can never be stressed enough how important pool safety really is. So what is it like to have a pool when you have multiples? My wife and I have had a pool since our twins were born in 2005. It’s something that came with the first house we bought together after we got married. Now, I was a little concerned about having infants and toddlers around a pool, but I knew that as long as I was diligent in my fight to always protect my children, having a pool could be a great source of enjoyment for them growing up.
There are four pieces of advice I would offer if you currently have a swimming pool, or are considering building one or purchasing a home that has one already.
First, make sure you have the correct type of life jacket or floaties for your children. We found water saucers that are similar to bouncy seats for the water that we used initially with our twins. We got them when our twins were four months old and they loved them. It was a great way to get our children used to being in the water. As they started getting bigger, we decided to find our twins life jackets that fit them correctly. We switched from the “sandwich-board” style to the fitted ones, similar to what professional water skiers use, just because they seemed to better adhere to our children and provided an extra level of comfort. You should always be checking the sizes, and fit of your life jackets. Your kids are always growing, and their protection should be changing to fit, as well.
Just when the fun was starting, our family was transferred to Omaha, Nebraska. After a year in the Midwest, when our twins were about 1.5, we decided that nothing would beat the sweltering summer temps quite like having a pool. We took a lot into consideration when building a pool, making sure our children were safe. Our home already had a built-in security alarm and sensors on every door. Our first line of defense. When a door opened the system would chime. The next barrier was the way the backyard was set up. We had a deck on the back of the house that led down to our pool deck. Here we installed a retractable baby gate. We used it to help keep our twins on the deck and away from the pool.
Sometimes the gate was difficult even for me to unlock, proving that it was another step of great protection in keeping our twins away from the water.
Next, we looked into swim lessons. The earlier you can enroll your children, the better. When signing up for swim lessons you want to make sure that you have the same instructor for the entire length of the swim lessons class. That was one of the problems we ran into. Consistency is key with most things, swimming lessons included. Make sure that you are comfortable with the instructors. Your confidence in their ability will help your child feel at ease with them too.
Finally the last and most important thing is to always keep a sharp eye on your children around a pool. This means that you have to paying attention at all times, and making sure you don’t become distracted. Tragedy can strike in seconds. The one thing that needs to always be remembered is that NO ONE EVER HEARS A DROWNING CHILD. Never leave your children alone for a moment to answer a phone call, go to the bathroom, answer a door, or anything that takes your eyes off your children.
Swimming is fun, and having a pool is a great way to enjoy time with your family. Making sure that you and those around you are being “pool smart” can be the fine line between enjoyment and tragedy.