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Home swimming pool supervision:
setting ground rules for visitors


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#1 thespottedcat

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:04 AM

We are moving next month to Brisbane and our house has a swimming pool.

I'm after advice on how to set ground rules straight up on people visiting to use our pool and supervising their children.

I've heard of people having a 'pool supervision hat' or similar where the person wearing the hat is responsible for staying pool side and you can't leave the pool unless you pass the hat onto another supervising adult. I think people use this a bit when you have a few families over.

Or could just say, if one of your kids is in the pool, regardless of other adults being in there/supervising their kids, you must sit pool side and supervise too.

What do you do?

#2 Hands Up

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:10 AM

Friends of mine have a pool. The rule they have is if your children want to swim, you are responsible for them. It seems fair enough to me.

#3 katrina24

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

Hi, we don't have a pool but a friend does. When she has people over and there is swimming they just set up everything within the pool area so that everyone naturally goes in. They also used the swimming hat when their children were younger.

#4 JustBeige

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:18 AM

We just have the "your kid your responsibility" rule.

We do make it easy to watch them though as we set everything up outside so we can easily see the pool.

#5 Kay1

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

QUOTE
Or could just say, if one of your kids is in the pool, regardless of other adults being in there/supervising their kids, you must sit pool side and supervise too.


This is what we do. I am thinking of altering it to the above being the rule for kids under 7  and over 7 (as long as they are competent swimmers) there must be one adult in the pool (or sitting on the edge watching) at all times but doesn't have to be the kids' own parents.

The problem with the 'hat' system is that other people simply aren't as tuned into kids that aren't their own. Also people with older kids just forget the level of supervision required by smaller kids. I have seen our friend let my toddler into the pool area and then go back to chatting while his competently swimming kids swam around him and he just forget about my toddler who was walking around the edge of the pool well out of the friends reach. So we also ask at the beginning of the day that no one let any children apart from their own through the pool gate. We also say upfront that if any kids under the age of 9 are in the pool an adult must be in the pool area. Some people are happy to let their 7-8 year olds in there alone and watch from outside the fence but I am not happy with that. We also talk to the kids first and make sure they know that when we say its time to come out they come, or there'll be no more swimming. This is so that you are not stuck negotiating to get kids out of the pool so you can go with one to the toilet for example....

Edited by Kay1, 17 January 2013 - 07:25 AM.


#6 EmandZac

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:24 AM

Inlaws have a pool .... our kids our responsibilty rules at their house. If I or my DH have to leave poolside we ensure we have informed someone be it Nanny or Poppy that they are in charge.

#7 qak

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:27 AM

QUOTE (NSG @ 17/01/2013, 08:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Friends of mine have a pool. The rule they have is if your children want to swim, you are responsible for them. It seems fair enough to me.

I go with this -hard enough to watch my own two kids by myself.

#8 thespottedcat

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:33 AM

Some good points raised already and I think the more that people respond, the more I think that if your kids are in the pool, you have to sit pool-side too.

Our entertaining area is right beside the pool but not within the fenced area and I don't think I'm comfortable with this distance still being classified as 'supervision'.

Another good tip re not letting other children into pool area.

I don't won't to be a mood killer when people come over but I also can't imagine the distress at finding a child on the bottom of the pool and them potentially not surviving or resuscitated but suffering serious brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

#9 Kay1

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:35 AM

The problem with "your kids, your responsibility" approach is that everyone has different standards. So we have family members who think it fine to let a 7 yo and 4 yo who can't swim into the pool area and sit down at the table outside it to chat. Not ok with me as the adult who is doing the safe thing and the water with their kid then has two extra to watch. If there is no one else in the pool then its just not safe and not allowed at our house. Also it confuses the message that we drum into our kids that NOBODY under 9 goes in the pool area without an adult.

Having all the festivities going on in the pool area is dangerous imo. Too easy to be distracted.

#10 thespottedcat

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 17/01/2013, 08:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem with "your kids, your responsibility" approach is that everyone has different standards. So we have family members who think it fine to let a 7 yo and 4 yo who can't swim into the pool area and sit down at the table outside it to chat. Not ok with me ...


Yep, this is what I'm thinking too.

OK, resolved! Your kids coming over and want to get in my pool? one of you sit pool side too.

Who's up for a swim in a month? original.gif

#11 Kay1

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE
I don't won't to be a mood killer when people come over but I also can't imagine the distress at finding a child on the bottom of the pool and them potentially not surviving or resuscitated but suffering serious brain damage due to lack of oxygen.


yep as per Tommy Lee!

It doesn't have to be a mood killer, just do it upfront and then carry on. original.gif

Outside pool glass definitely not close supervision. I was watching my then 5 yo from the house, his uncle was 'supervising' on the side of the pool. My son was in  little inflatable boat which tipped over and he was trapped underneath and not a good swimmer. The distance between me and him, through the gate, seemed infinite in that moment and is probably 9 metres at most. I screamed at BIL to get his attention and he dived in and got him. That's when we started our system.

#12 baddmammajamma

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:41 AM

QUOTE (NSG @ 17/01/2013, 08:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Friends of mine have a pool. The rule they have is if your children want to swim, you are responsible for them. It seems fair enough to me.


This plus...

If EB's resident expert (Kat/hannabug) were on line today, she would say that actively supervising your kids means:

* Being inside the pool area
* Supervising with your eyes (because drowning is silent), with no other distractions (e.g. not skimming a book or magazine).

When dealing with young toddlers the supervision should be at arms length wherever practical.

Enjoy your new house & pool, OP.

Edited by baddmammajamma, 17 January 2013 - 07:42 AM.


#13 Feral Alpacas

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:42 AM

We have only had one event with other children using the pool, and it was your child your responsibility, but parent had to be in the pool area with them.

ETA as most of the kids were toddlers, we specified that parents had to be in the water, for older kids it was within arms reach.

Edited by lovealpacas, 17 January 2013 - 07:46 AM.


#14 Kay1

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:44 AM

Enjoy your pool OP!! biggrin.gif

One other thing I do is frequently say to the kids "What's the first rule of the pool?" answer "never go in the gate without mum or dad". "What do you do if you see a kid trying to go in the gate on their own?" Answer "run and get mum or dad". Note 'in the gate' not in the pool. So they know that they are never to attempt to get entry even just to get a ball etc. The flipside is we have to get up uncomplainingly and get ever ball or toy that goes in ther LOL.

#15 thespottedcat

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:48 AM

Thanks all for advice and well wishes. Looking forward to the move.

I think I pretty much had it in my head but seeing all the responses just confirmed it for me especially given there will potentially be a wide range of kids ages.

#16 miinii

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:48 AM

I would go with your child your responsibility.

#17 baddmammajamma

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 17/01/2013, 08:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One other thing I do is frequently say to the kids "What's the first rule of the pool?" answer "never go in the gate without mum or dad". "What do you do if you see a kid trying to go in the gate on their own?" Answer "run and get mum or dad". Note 'in the gate' not in the pool. So they know that they are never to attempt to get entry even just to get a ball etc. The flipside is we have to get up uncomplainingly and get ever ball or toy that goes in ther LOL.


Those are good rules (I'd much rather pop up and down every few minutes getting wayward balls - exercise! -- rather than risk a loss of life or serious injury of a child). Sadly, there still way too many backyard pool drownings (amongst other kinds) in Australia -- this summer has been horrible. We should all be working zealously toward a rate of zero.



#18 mombasa

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:53 AM

When we go to visit friends or family who have a pool either DH or I supervise our children, regardless of whether there are other adults in the pool area. If we had a pool I think I would prefer that a parent was supervising their own child, unless it was a play date, then of course I wouldn't leave the pool area and supervise all the children swimming at the time. Personally I feel uneasy leaving others to watch my kids when they are around water.

#19 Foogle

Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:01 AM

QUOTE
I would go with your child your responsibility.

This works in theory but in reality well, that's another story.

DH and I are the pool police around our pool and even though visitors to our pool do (mostly) supervise their own children, either DH, I or indeed both of us also make sure that we are there as well.  

It appears sometimes that people get a bit blasé about supervision and we both have had to say to friends a couple of times 'Oi, supervision of your children is not being outside the pool area. You either supervise them properly or they are out of there'

Other rules that we strictly enforce -

No running or bombing.

No jumping from the top of the waterfall.  You would be surprised at how many people are ok for their kids to do this.  rant.gif

No throwing of pool toys.  Why do kids think it's funny to peg a reasonably heavy kick board half way down the pool with no concept that it may actually strike someone on the head?  I have ordered other peoples kids out of the pool because of this despite giving them several warnings (infront of the parents).

Yep - we are the pool police here, but kids can have fun in the pool without running, bombing, pegging stuff or hurling themselves into the pool from 8 ft in the air.

Our pool - our rules.





#20 Frockme

Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:31 AM

Be strict and firm with kids and adults visiting. Put on your teacher voice and say

"if *name* is in the pool you need to be in the pool area as well" and remind them if you see them start to leave.

When you have guests there's often eating and drinking. So our other rule is no glass or breakables in the pool area.  original.gif  You do not need the distraction of glass in a foot and cleaning up when their are 10 kids in the pool!!

Never let anyone prop open the pool gate! EVER.

I often have the neighbour kids over for swims but they're older 10 + I'm happy to supervise them all without parents. I do regular head counts. Anyone who cant swim needs a parent there as well.

I don't think you need a "hat" system. The more eyes the better.

#21 MrsLexiK

Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

Enjoy your pool!

I don't think we have a rule as such, but DH is normally in the pool anyway when kids are in the pool (as he just loves the water) so at the very least if all the adults are not there in the pool area the guys are there.

We haven't had to tell people specifically what the rules are, thankfully our friends are very responsible themselves so supervise supervise supervise.

#22 KDA

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

The most kids we have in our pool is 4 (2 ours and 2 friends) but anytime they're in the pool my DP and my friends DP is always in the pool with them and my friend and I sit outside talking. If one of the guys gets out one of us usually goes and stand in the pool area until they get back.

If the adults want to get out of the pool, they usually give the kids warning that its time to get out soon and just keep reminding the kids so there's no arguments or crying about having to get out. The kids are all aware they can't go inside the gate without an adult present.

#23 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:04 AM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 17/01/2013, 05:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One other thing I do is frequently say to the kids "What's the first rule of the pool?" answer "never go in the gate without mum or dad". "What do you do if you see a kid trying to go in the gate on their own?" Answer "run and get mum or dad". Note 'in the gate' not in the pool. So they know that they are never to attempt to get entry even just to get a ball etc. The flipside is we have to get up uncomplainingly and get ever ball or toy that goes in ther LOL.

We had the same rule, and if we had visiting children, I would always be either outside or in sight of the gate, just in case. And going along with this is never to prop the gate open. As a pp said, we also had rules about walking in the pool area, only jumping in beyond a certain depth, only 1 at a time on the slide, etc.

We've actually never had an issue - in all the time we had a pool, if parents were there, they were either swimming or in the pool area when the children were swimming.

#24 glasnost

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

Another thing to watch out for is older kids opening a pool gate and inadvertently letting smaller children into the pool area. Even if they are a good, responsible kid they can become distracted when they are with friends etc.
EFS

Edited by mamasaurus, 17 January 2013 - 09:23 AM.


#25 BetteBoop

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

I like the hat idea OP.

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 17/01/2013, 07:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem with "your kids, your responsibility" approach is that everyone has different standards. So we have family members who think it fine to let a 7 yo and 4 yo who can't swim into the pool area and sit down at the table outside it to chat. Not ok with me as the adult who is doing the safe thing and the water with their kid then has two extra to watch. If there is no one else in the pool then its just not safe and not allowed at our house. Also it confuses the message that we drum into our kids that NOBODY under 9 goes in the pool area without an adult.

Having all the festivities going on in the pool area is dangerous imo. Too easy to be distracted.


Yes. A couple of years ago, a friend had a pool party with 2 other families. There were 7 kids in the pool in total, aged from 4-9.

One child almost drowned while the party was happening even though the adults were looking over quite regularly. With all the commotion and splashing, no one noticed that he'd slipped to the bottom of the pool.

The little boy was okay. But it's proof that kids need to be actively watched in a pool. And the more people who assume others are watching, increases the danger.




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