Indoor spaces with low ventilation are now considered high-risk areas with the new strain of the coronavirus making its rounds. But with children and their high energy levels, going to the pool for water play is now an even more appealing option than ever.
Pool time has been a popular and time-tested outing for many families. There are over 2,400 licensed swimming pools in Singapore – and not all have lifeguards on duty.
Group swimming lessons might be off-limits for now under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures, but most pools are still open.
Here are four things that could end up making the difference between a fun and relaxing day by the pool and and not.
1. Note the entry and exit points
Whether you are familiar with the pool or not, it is important to make sure that you and your children are clear of where the exit points are located in each pool. Things like steps or ladders should be pointed out and taken note of.
Sometimes, these can be obstructed by water features or pool designs like high walls that make it hard for a child to climb to safety if anything goes wrong.
2. Check the pool depth
Pool depths vary – make sure you know what you are getting into. Some might be only knee deep throughout while others might start from a shallow 1-metre that slopes into a 3-metre drop.
All pools will have depth markers located near or at the pool. It is important to know whether you will be able to stand comfortably and even where the deep end starts. While it may not seem immediately dangerous, being caught in deep water beyond your confidence level is a very scary and unpleasant experience.
Also, do note that diving into the shallow ends of the pool is the leading cause of diving injuries. A headfirst dive into shallow water can cause severe head and spinal injuries.
3. Do a quick check of the pool water
If the water looks cloudy or if the bottom of the pool cannot be seen, play it safe and stay out of the water. Pool water has a heavenly blue colour due to the chlorine added to it. But chlorine plays an important role in keeping the water safe for enjoyment by killing the bacteria and other germs.
4. Always maintain line of sight and stay within arm's reach
Finally, keep your children within sight. This helps you to respond to their verbal and non-verbal cues, whether they are enjoying themselves or if something is not right. Contrary to popular portrayal of drowning accidents, it occurs very quietly. If you have a young child, stay within an arm’s length as this will enable you to reach them quickly if any assistance is required.
All things considered, the best thing you can do for your child is to make sure they are water safe! Learning how to swim is a large part of that, is an essential life skill that might make the difference one day.
Bonus tip: Apply water-resistant sunblock early and frequently! This will save you and your children some painful sunburns.