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Summer vacation has arrived! Pool days and beach days abound. Lying by the water, relaxing, sipping a sparkling beverage. Sounds heavenly, right?
Taking four kids to the pool is a little less luxurious, but still fun. Typically I spend most of the day – whether I’m in the water or just next to it – counting my children over and over again to make sure they’re all still there. However non-glamorous that sounds, it’s still a huge step up from last year, when our youngest was very anxious in and around the water, and even with Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs – and yes we tried several different kinds) she still wanted to climb up our bodies and cling on for dear life. Because a child’s weight is distributed differently than an adult’s, wriggling, panicked children can put additional strain on their PFDs, making it harder to stay afloat.
This summer has started off a little differently. We’ve already had one successful pool day, and yes I spent it counting my children’s heads over and over again, but this time I didn’t have a stage four clinger. With a little help from a borrowed Stearns® Puddle Jumper® Life Jacket, she was confidently playing in the (very shallow) kiddie pool without any desire for me to be near her at all. We were at the pool for hours, and she didn’t want to leave.
After that successful pool trip, I saw an opportunity to work with the makers of that fabulous device and share our pool safety tips and had to jump on it! Their new line of Puddle Jumper 3D Life Jackets, designed for children who weigh between 30 and 50 pounds, feature a 3D character on the front for even more fun in the water. When Evelyn put hers on, she suddenly transformed into the brave and adventurous PAW Patrol® character, Skye® ! But even brave heroes need to stay safe, and I have a few rules for my kids to follow when we’re around water.
I made this printable pool rules card that is easy to laminate and makes a handy addition to your pool bag! If a rule gets broken, that means a break from swimming to review them. I have my child sit down, look over the card and talk to me about which rule they broke and why it’s important to follow these rules. After a short chat, they’re back to playing.
I think my rules are pretty simple, and they’re designed to maximize safety for not only my kids, but everyone around them. They’re also basic rules for most pools, in a tangible form that kids can absorb. And really, no parent wants to be the one whose kids are getting repeatedly reprimanded by lifeguards – this helps with that.
With everyone following the pool rules, it’s a lot easier for me to relax and have fun, and enjoy playing in the water with my kids. And with their new-found confidence in the pool, they’re jumping, swimming, and playing like they’ve spent their whole lives in the water.
Puddle Jumper® life jackets are not your typical “floaties.” They’re US Coast Guard-approved life jackets that make awesome learn-to-swim aids for beginners in the water. Unlike standard life jackets that often have multiple clips and a strap running between the legs, they stay in place with just one clip behind the back. The soft, woven polyester fabric means less chafing so your little ones can play longer and more comfortably.
*While PFDs are especially important for use with children, they are not to be substituted for adult supervision, which should always be present and act as the first line of defense in avoiding unwanted water contact.*
Puddle Jumper® life jackets are easy to find at your favorite Target store, you know, the one where all the cashiers know you and your kids by name. They’re right there in the aisle with all the swimming stuff!