Pools are hugely popular with kids. If you want your kids and their friends to have a good time in your pool, or in any public pool, you need to make safety your first concern.
One of the best ways to ensure that children are safe while using a pool (or swimming in other bodies of water, such as lakes) is to instruct them to use the buddy system.
How the Buddy System Works
In the buddy system, each child is assigned a partner or “buddy” that he or she is to stay with at all times. This ensures that no one will ever be swimming alone.
For extra safety, pair young or inexperienced children with an older “buddy,” an adult or trusted older child with strong swimming ability, who can keep these less experienced swimmers that much safer.
For the buddy system to truly be effective, though, it must be coupled with enforcement and good adult supervision. Have at least one adult in the pool and at least one more outside the pool actively observing children for safety purposes.
The adults should ensure that children are adhering to the rules of the buddy system. The adults can also intervene in the case of any emergencies.
Because children are often busy playing and having a good time, it is up to parents and other adults to ensure that they are safe. The buddy system is part of good safety practice, not all of good safety practice on its own.
Why the Buddy System Works So Well
The buddy system works because it puts extra eyes on every child using your pool. While adult supervision is still the most important thing, the buddy system lets kids look out for each other while the adults are also looking out for them.
Because the buddy system has only one simple rule, it is easy to explain to even the youngest children. Also, this can provide a firm foundation on which to teach your children more of the basics of pool safety.
Children can also learn from one another, especially if you pair the older and more experienced child swimmers with younger and more inexperienced child swimmers. This will give the older kids an opportunity to teach the younger ones about pool safety.
The buddy system also works naturally with the friendships and behaviors your children and others have already developed. Children are in the pool in the first place to have a good time with their friends and family; this rule doesn’t interfere with that, but leverages it to make kids safer.
Last but not least, the buddy system will bring you and other adult supervisors peace of mind. Although it’s important never to forget about safety concerns or let your attention lapse, constant worry is also not productive.
Having the buddy system in place adds an extra layer of safety. This leaves kids and adults alike to have more fun, and to worry just a little less.