Pool Rules

My charges are 3 1/2 and 6 months, and we have of course been going to pool lots during this hot summer. We have been hanging out at the baby pool, but lately my older charge has been requesting we go into the big pool, which starts at around 2 1/2 feet. I have a life vest for him, but nothing for the baby. This baby is one of the squirmiest I've encountered, so I've been a bit worried about my ability to adequately handle both kids in the big pool. I guess what I'm asking is if I'm being unreasonable and overly cautious by denying his request? Do other nannies have similar rules? Or do you find it easier than I'm imagining to take multiple young kids in the big pool? (PS. I'm not just looking for 'follow your gut instinct' type advice. I'm already doubting my gut! I'm looking to see what other's guts are saying!)


world's best nanny said...

Unless the oldest child has had swim lessons and have passed the swim test to enter the deep end, I would keep him in the shallow end with his/her sibling. Just tell him he needs to pass a test with a lifeguard first before he can go in the deep water.

Flip1 said...

I would say no until swim lessons are completed too

canadananny said...

I would do it if the 3 year old could swim confidently in a life vest. I have seen 3 year olds who can enter and exit the water, swim, and float by themselves while wearing a life vest...however, I have also seen 3 year old who just bob helplessly while wearing a life vest. If the 3 year old was self-sufficient in a life vest I would brave the bigger pool because I'd be able to baby-wrangle without having to "worry" about the 3 year old (although of course in water you are always watchful). If the 3 year old is one of those "bob helplessly" then I would stick to the little pool (and try and help him practice moving around in his life jacket!).

Manhattan Nanny said...

If I could go in with the 3 yo one on one, yes. With a baby in my arms, absolutely not. What are you going to do with the baby if the 3 yo suddenly needs help?

Lyn said...

I would say no UNTIL I spoke with my MB/DB about the request. I'd want to know about her swimming history (has she had lessons, how comfortable in the water is she with her floatie, etc)and then would ask for MB to purchase a baby float if she thinks this is an okay request. They have ones like inner tubes that you just pop the babies feet through that are super handy. And then if you try it out once and feel even slightly uncomfortable you can always revert back to the "kiddie pool" for all further pool times.
But I definitely would talk to the parents about the request and listen to their thoughts.

Bethany said...

I agree with Lyn & Manhattan here.

Talk with parents first until then continue to tell him no.

If they give the ok, make sure you have a solid plan for what to do with baby should the 3 year old need your help.

Also do you feel up to par with your swimming ability? If you are the slightest bit uncomfortable for whatever reason don't change over to the big kids pool.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

For safety's sake and for liability reasons, I think it is best to stay in the kiddie pool. If the 3 yr old hems and haws, you can firmly state that since you have a squirmy little baby on your hands, then it is best for everyone involved if you all stay in the kiddie pool. You can tell him if he asks one of his parents, perhaps they will let him go in the bigger pool, but it is up to them.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I have a cousin who is 3.5 and she just now has become comfortable swimming by herself with floaties but it is mostly her playing on the stairs of the pool so she doesn't technically "swim" without my help. If your charge is a bit more confident in the pool and can actually move around a great deal, that would actually make me more nervous. If you are in the pool with the baby and the 3 year old is off doing laps, will the 3 year old listen and come back closer to you? If not, that will be a problem. Also, what if the 3 year old freaks out and needs your help but you have the baby in your arms? Do you trust the life vest to support the child until you are able to put the baby away from the pool? All things that need to be considered.

Is there any way you can arrange it so that the baby is napping while you are at the pool? If the pool and chairs/seating area are right next to the pool then maybe you can have special time in the big pool with the 3 year old while the baby naps? But of course that wouldn't work if the area was super busy and you weren't close enough to see the baby from your position in the pool.

MissMannah said...

I would say stay in the kiddie pool for now. Do you happen to have any nanny friends or can you arrange a playdate to the pool? If you can set something like that up, then maybe the older child can go into the big pool with his friend and the other adult while you stay back with the baby. Or vice-versa. I'm assuming that you would be able to see what's going on in the big pool from the kiddie pool, so that might work. Also, I don't have experience with it but I have seen a product called the Swimtrainer that you are supposed to be able to put a baby in. It is supposedly better than regular floaties. I think if I had one of those I would feel more comfortable taking the baby and the kiddo over to the big pool...maybe ask your bosses about getting one? Of course, I don't know if the Swimtrainer is as great as they claim it is.

littlefishy said...

Vests are extremely scary to me. You know how many kids I've seen get stuck face down????? Bad, justt bad.

No deep end unless he's an excellent swimmer.

Susannah said...

I think you are correct in telling him no, and I think you should continue to insist he stay in the baby pool.

His parents can take him to the other side on their time.

Just because he wants to go in doesn't mean he is ready.

IMO you can never be too cautious when it comes to water safety.

Truth Seeker said...

My advice:

Stay in the kiddie pool. You can NEVER be too safe around kids and water....especially now in the summertime.

Phoenix said...

where I live most kids have had swim lessons by the age of 3. We were all able to swim around without life jackets. diving 3 year olds, woo hoo

but the pool is a dangerous place. Think for a moment the 3 year old gets away from you and he flips over in his jacket with his face down in the water and he can't recover to turn back over onto his back. If you have a baby in your arms how can you help him? Also other people are not going to be watching out for him. Some older kids could be playing around and jump on top of him in the pool.

I don't think its a good idea.

OP Here said...

Thanks for all the advice. A few points to clarify: He has had swim lessons, but is by no means an independent swimmer yet. His parents do take him into the big pool, but this is generally on the weekends, and both parents are there, and can keep an eye/hand on each kid. MB has said it's up to me whether I take them in the big pool myself or not.

He started more swim lessons today (and these are while I'm working, where the previous ones were not), so I'll be able to get a better idea of how strong he is in the big pool then. It seems like these lessons may also satisfy his desire to be in the big pool, making it less of an issue when we go at other times.

I am glad to see my initial decision was reasonable though. Though I am a capable swimmer and CPR certified, I don't really love the pool personally, so I was worried I might be saying this decision was for "safety reasons" when really I was just doing it out of personal comfort, which wouldn't be fair to my charge.

OceanBlue said...

Sometimes safety and personal comfort go hand in hand.

I think you are making a smart choice.

Better to have a 3 year old thats a little mad he can't go in the big kids pool thant one that is drowned.

urMissMannah said...

That's it. I'm officially passing out. Second time we agree-LOL!!! ;-)

Laura said...

OP, have you looked into an infant life vest? They have supports for their necks and a strap to go between the child's legs and are very secure. They're a great way to get him to practice kicking and moving his arms while minimizing the risk of drowning. They should also have a handle on the top of the neck support for an adult to grab onto.

Ice Queen said...

I have wrangled plenty of sets of kids into and out of the pool successfully in my years working as a nanny.

Personally, the kid has to be able to either a) sit on the steps, b) touch the bottom without being beneath the water and c) not be teetering all over acting like they're falling.

Unless in a life vest. If they are comfortable floating around in a vest or kicking their happy hearts out, I'm fine with it.

But, I'm a VERY strong swimmer, was on my school's swim team, and also am confident in my ability to administer cpr if needed.

If you are not comfortable with the possibility of that, and aren't going to remain close enough to quickly contain any arrising issues, I wouldn't bother. Keep them in the wading pool.

The big pool I save for mostly 4+, especially if there are multiple kids involved.