Pool Safety for Babysitters

As a seasoned babysitter and a former lifeguard, I’ve taken kiddos to the pool countless times. Going to the pool is one of the best summer activities you can do. It’s an awesome way to work out their energy, especially if they’re starting to get stir crazy at home! Though the pool can be very fun, it can also be quite dangerous if you’re not careful.  Here are some important things to remember if you’re planning to go!

Ask the Parents First

Before heading to the pool, ask the parents if they’re ok with it and ask about their child’s swimming skills. Do they use water wings? Do they use a life jacket? Even if the parent says their kid is an Olympic swimmer, you’ll still need to watch them carefully around the pool.

Watch the Kids

Get in the water with them and watch them like a hawk! Even if they’re tall enough to stand, or they’re on the swim team, or if there’s a lifeguard.  Something could happen while they’re in there and they could DIE. This isn’t like playing in the backyard. If you’re not watching, they could drown. So, no phones. No chatting with other sitters or friends. Watch them.

In my experience, kids love it when you go in with them too!  There are plenty of fun games and activities that you can all do together. Some fool-proof ideas are having contests like “who can float the longest” or “who can do the longest handstand.”  Personally, I would shy away from breath-holding contests though- those can scare lifeguards and potentially divert their attention away from someone who may actually need their help.  I also love pool toys!  Some ideas or sinking toys or soft, balls to play catch with.  Just make sure you know the pool rules.  For example, at the pool I worked at, we let kids jump in facing forwards if there was room, but we never let them jump in backwards in case someone was behind them.  We also only let people throw soft, water absorbent balls that could float so that no one would get hurt if they accidentally got hit by the ball.  Finally, remember to listen to the lifeguards if they come talk to you.  They don’t want to ruin your pool trip, they just want to make sure everyone is safe.  

Sunscreen on Kids

SUNSCREEN! Always coat the kiddos in broadband sunscreen at least thirty minutes before heading to the pool.  Even if it’s not super hot or sunny, skin is susceptible to being burned. Nearly 80% of UV rays are not blocked by clouds. Also, it’s important to put it on and let the skin absorb it before going in the water.  Even if the bottle says “waterproof,” sunscreen can wash off partially or fully if you don’t let it set and it wears off so reapply every two hours! Even if the kids are unhappy about it, always make them wear it.  Neither the kids, nor their parents will be happy if you bring home little lobsters!

Food at the Pool

Food and water!  Swimming can work up quite the appetite.  If you’re planning on taking kids to the pool, I would talk to the parents beforehand and ask them about what snacks they suggest.  Usually, the concession stands at pools are not very healthy and quite pricey.  Make sure you’ve asked the parents about any dietary restrictions the kids might have before you leave.  Some great things to take with you are sandwiches, veggies, and small snacks. Every time I go to the pool, I try to bring more snacks than I will need. Taking sandwiches is a great idea because they are quick, filling, and don’t require utensils.  I also love taking chopped-up veggies, or granola bars and fruit snacks. These are awesome because they are quick bites you can hand your kiddos during adult swim time.  Finally, always take water bottles with you!  When you’re out in the sun, you are going need to hydrate.  I like to take water bottles so you can have it at your own convenience and you can go refill them at the water fountains.  But, remember, no glass!

Going to the pool can be an awesome, safe activity for both you and the kids. Have an awesome summer!

Do you have any tips for taking kids to the pools? Drop them in a comment below, or tweet us at @SitterMe.