It takes more than the simple presence of an adult to provide a safe swimming environment and prevent drowning. Inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets, even if they are being actively supervised. Those watching the pool should be trained to identify the signs of distress. Many people have an incorrect idea of what drowning looks like. A drowning victim does not scream for help or wave his or her arms to summon assistance. It is often a very quiet, very subdued event. A child may bob quietly in the water for up to a minute before going under and not coming back up.
Teaching children how to swim is an important step to ensuring water safety. In addition, establishing and enforcing proper swimming pool behaviors can prevent pool accidents and drowning. Children may dive where it is unsafe. They may run on slick, wet surfaces and get injured. They may pressure one another into engaging in unsafe acts while at the swimming pool.
Before taking your kids to a swimming pool, familiarize yourself with the American Red Cross swim safety tips. Prepare your children in advance to be safe while they are in the water. Finally, remember that it is never safe to leave a child unsupervised at a pool. Even a child who has been taught to swim and who is wearing a life jacket should not be left alone in or near the pool.
Source: Palos Patch, “Maintaining a Safe Environment at the Swimming Pool,” by Ben Feldheim, 14 July 2013