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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

May 13, 2021, Isaacson, Tiffaney
Five Tips for When You’re the (Only) “Boss of the Pool”
Five Tips for When You’re the (Only) “Boss of the Pool”

Pool time is the best part of sunny days in Arizona – a great chance to splash, giggle, and make memories with your kids. While families elsewhere might be coping with icy windshields and stormy weather in the coming months, you can often swim well into fall and winter days.

Like so much of being a parent, pool time can be fun, but also stressful. The drowning rate for young Arizona children is nearly double the national rate. How do you make sure your kids are safe when they swim, especially if you’re supervising them alone?

  1. Say “no” when the time isn’t right. Children need constant, capable supervision around the water. We call this being the “Boss of the Pool.”  The Boss must be within arm’s reach and able to see each child’s face. It’s a big job and the big stresses we’re coping with right now can make it hard to focus. If you’re tired, anxious, or don’t feel well, choose another activity.
  2. Prepare for fun. If you bring a bag of essentials, even in your own backyard, you won’t be tempted to step away for a bottle of water, swim diaper or sunscreen.
  3. Bring life jackets.  A US Coast Guard-approved life jacket, which looks like a vest, can help to keep your child’s face out of the water when she swims. Use it to compliment good supervision but remember nothing replaces supervision from the Boss of the Pool.  Here’s more information.  
  4. Disconnect. Your cell phone is a distraction, so turn it off at the pool.
  5. Keep it short. When more than one adult is available to be the Pool Boss, you can take turns every 15 minutes, but a solo caregiver doesn’t have that option. When it’s just you, keep swim time brief to give you a chance to cool down, drink water, check your phone for messages and have a snack. Bring the kids indoors whenever you need to or at least every thirty minutes. You can also choose not to go back to the pool (see tip number one). If you have a special activity or treat for kids when swim time is over, ending swim time is easier.

For more tips on water safety, visit our Water Safety Program site or call 602-933-1712.

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