It’s summer time and it’s hot outside! What better way to beat the heat than in the local pool or at Wild Island? I can talk about this topic from two perspectives: one as a physician and another as a previous long time employee of the water park – I spent 9 summers of my adolescence and young-adulthood working there, and I saw and learned a lot during that time
First things first: water wings are NOT good flotation devices and pretty much should not be used in any setting. They can slip up around the forearms and actually hold the child under the water. (In fact, there is an entire RMB post dedicated to how Water Wings are the Devil.) If you are going to purchase a flotation device for your child to offer yourself some peace of mind while they play in the pool, make sure it is coast guard approved.
The average drowning victim is 7 years old, 4 feet tall and drowns in 4 feet of water, not usually the “deep end” as you might think. This brings me to my next point – just because your child has a life jacket on does not mean you can let them go play without any concern. We have seen kiddos struggle even with life jackets on and as a lifeguard we have had to help get these kids out of the water. It can be very traumatizing to them.
Also, sunscreen is really, really important and needs to be reapplied at least every 2 hours, especially when swimming. See my post last month on sunscreen for more details on this.
Water shoes are a really good idea – the pool bottoms are naturally sanded to prevent slips and falls and these can tear your kids feet up, and if they are in a pool that isn’t sanded these help with grip so they don’t fall getting in and out of the pool.
And finally, stay hydrated! It’s hot outside, and by the time you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Make sure you keep an eye on your kiddos and encourage them to drink water every hour that you’re outside, and more if they are active. Even if they’re swimming in the pool, they need to drink water, and it can sometimes be harder to keep tabs on how often they are going to the bathroom when they are in and out of the pool all day!