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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

June 02, 2021, Isaacson, Tiffaney ,
Does Stress Affect Pool Safety?

At Phoenix Children’s Hospital, we see things differently. We focus on kids and only kids. We don’t work in just one place – we work in communities across the Valley. We go home and hug our own kids tight, because we see kids injured and it breaks our hearts. My two kids are adults now, but the lessons I learned raising them go into my work to protect your kids from drowning.

Here’s where the “differently” part comes in: before you go swimming with your kids today, ask yourself a question: How do you feel?  

Are you tired because your baby still gets up in the night to be fed? Are you distracted because a family member is ill? Do you have an email you need to send to your boss right away? Do you have a headache from working on a computer all day?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or similar ones, I don’t want you to go swimming today.  That’s right, I’m giving you permission to say “no” and let your kids watch a movie instead. Lock the doors, order that pizza you love, crank the AC down and take care of you.

When I look at fatal and nonfatal drowning cases, I see stressed parents. A lapse in supervision is more likely to happen when you’re tired or stressed. I can’t remove the stress from your life or mine, but I can tell you that understanding stress and not thinking about it at the pool can help you protect your children from drowning.

Choosing to avoid the pool area when we aren’t at our best is just the first way to think differently about water safety. You can also ask yourself who can help you with your struggles. When we talk to the people in our support system, we can become stronger, more resilient parents. This helps us to be better at supervising our children when they are poolside.

Maybe you can call your best friend and talk through your worries. Maybe your stresses come from bigger challenges. Families who are struggling with big issues like domestic violence, drug and alcohol dependence, and mental illness can get help from great programs across the Valley. Reaching out to ask for help can mean taking the first steps to a better and healthier life for your kids.

I still worry about being a “good” mom. That never goes away! But I’ve learned that I become a better and stronger mom when I have a support system and know how to use it. When you do the same, you can make more fun memories at the pool with your kids this summer.

For more tips on water safety, visit our Water Safety Program site or call 602-933-1712.

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