Chances are, if you stay at a motel, it’s going to have a pool. And despite being at the New Jersey shore, with miles of beaches and ocean to entertain you… somebody’s going to want to swim in the pool anyway. Poolside safety is just as important as ocean safety!
First, the basics:
- Do not let children swim unattended
- If the pool has a lifeguard, be sure to obey him or her
- Obey all posted rules
- Only swim during permitted hours
Supervision is the best way to keep your family safe, whether you’re at the pool or the beach. Know where everyone is, and what they’re doing. Before anyone goes into the water, check for any potential hazards like glass bottles or forgotten toys.
If you are with children who do not know how to swim, the best way to keep them safe is to keep them out of the pool! However, this isn’t always feasible. Personal flotation devices like approved vests will ensure that your child is safe in the water. Inflatable devices like inner tubes and water wings should be used under supervision. Keep younger kids restricted to the low end of the pool.
You may need to leave the pool area for a few minutes. Don’t leave the children unattended! If you can’t bring them with you, have another responsible adult keep an eye on them. Don’t assume that a pool accident can’t happen to you!
Whether you’re inside the pool area or just passing by, make sure the gate is latched. Curious little ones won’t get into danger if they can’t get into the pool area.
Before anyone goes in the pool, review the safety rules. If diving is prohibited, it’s not because the motel owners like to ruin your fun. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital suggests NEVER diving in water that is less than nine feet deep. At the very least, avoid diving in pools that are six feet deep or less. If there is a diving board at your motel pool, keep the kids clear of the landing zone. We want divers to encounter only water and not other swimmers!
The pool area is not a good place for running, chasing, games of tag, etc. A non-swimmer could fall into the water. Someone could crack their head on the concrete. Save the horseplay for the beach! Make sure your children know not to jump on or push others at poolside. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Even if there is a lifeguard on duty at the motel pool, note the locations of safety devices like poles, life preservers, and ropes. In a drowning emergency, seconds DO count. A child submerged for only two minutes loses consciousness. A child suffers irreversible brain damage in as little as four minutes underwater. Learn more from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
If you hear thunder while you’re in the pool… GET OUT! A pool is the last place you want to be if lightning strikes — that pool is connected to a lot of things via underground pipes. Lightning strikes nowhere near the pool could send shocks traveling through the network. Wait at least a half hour after the last rumble of thunder passes; lightning has a longer reach than the sound of the thunder.
Speaking of electricity, keep your CD players, radios, cell phones, and other electrical devices away from the water!
Last but not least, keep anyone who has been drinking alcohol out of the water. Yes, you’re on vacation. Yes, you’re there to unwind. But don’t drink and swim.