When it comes to children’s safety in and around the water, many parents suffer from a false sense of security. Believe it or not, drowning is a leading cause of death for children four years old and younger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many of these drownings occurred while the child was supposedly being watched.

As you’ll see in this post, simply being present is not enough. It is easy for adults to assume that your children will be safe just because you happen to be nearby. Of course, it is very easy to become distracted. In fact, far easier than many of us want to admit.

New Research Calls for Extra Adult Supervision Near the Water - image of two kids and two adults in the water.

We’ve mentioned it before, but active supervision is key. Even though you may be standing near the pool, don’t forget to pay absolute attention to any children you are watching. Read on to learn more about active supervision and the dangers of a false sense of security.

Here are a Few Tips For Active Supervisors:

  • Stay off your phone.
  • Put down your book.
  • Be a strong swimmer.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while supervising.
  • Remain close to the pool at all times.
  • Enforce the pool rules.
  • Watch all children diligently.
  • Be ready to enter the pool at any time.
  • For children aged 0-5, the active supervisor should be in the pool with the children and remain within arms reach at all times.

At Life Saver Pool Fence, we recommend having at least one adult designated as an active supervisor at all times. To help battle fatigue, be sure to change shifts once every 15 minutes.

Tragic Drowning Shows Importance of Active Supervision

A False Sense of Security Can Cost Lives

Active supervision is important, but in more than half of fatal drowning cases, a parent was close by or even supervising. As you can see, merely being present is not a foolproof plan. In fact, this can lull you into a false sense of security.

Here are some troublesome examples to avoid:

  • “My child can swim.” This is a great safety measure, but not if it causes a parent to relax their supervision of children around the water. All children should be given swimming lessons, but even good swimmers can have accidents or panic.
  • “My child is in a life jacket.” Flotation devices can provide some extra security, but a child can still drown in a life jacket. They are not fail-proof, nor are they a substitute for adult supervision.
  • “My child is in shallow water.” Parents will many times lower their guard when a child is in shallow water like wading pools. It’s hard to believe that a child could drown in waist-deep water. But watch this video for an example of how easily this can happen.
  • “I’ll just watch my child really closely.” Ironically, many parents trust too much in their ability to supervise. Inevitably, a child will escape your supervision at some point. You have to make sure you have secondary barriers (like pool fences) set up as well, for when supervision fails.

The best solution is to incorporate as many safety measures as possible so that you are not depending too much on any one step to get the job done. Active supervision is vital, but can easily fail. That’s why you’ll want some extra layers of protection. Be sure to check out the rest of our handy blog. There, you’ll find tips about swimming lessons, removable pool fencing, childproofing your home and more.

As always, it’s better to be safer than sorry.