Summer is here, and while splashing in the pool is a great activity for kids, parents must be vigilant at all times. At pool parties, it’s easy to sit back and relax. There are people arriving and conversations happening and you assume, “There’s a ton of adults here — someone is watching my child.”
According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, and of those who drown, about one in five are children ages 14 and under. Statistics show that the majority of drownings are due to a lack of supervision.
If you’re throwing a pool party with a large group of people, you might consider hiring a lifeguard. But another (free) option is to have the adults who are strong swimmers take turns being the Water Watcher, a suggestion from a story in Time. A Water Watcher agrees to focus their attention completely on the kids in the pool for a certain amount of time — say, 15 minutes. After their time is up, another person becomes the Water Watcher. No one has to spend the entire party standing there.
Safe Kids Worldwide has a Water Watcher card that you can print out and give to the person on duty. A brightly coloured hat would work, too. It’s best if the Water Watchers know CPR and what drowning really looks like (it’s probably not what you think).