For children with summer birthdays, there's nothing more exciting than a pool party with all of their friends. A warm day filled with splashing and laughter sounds great but how can you ensure the safety of so many kids in the water at once? Here are some tips for a safe (and sane) birthday party in your inground pool.

Invite the Parents

The more eyes on the water, the better. Consider inviting the parents of your child's guests to stay for the party. Be sure to have adult-friendly refreshments available but stay away from the spirits; in 2012, 31% of all drowning deaths in Canada were attributed to alcohol consumption. Virgin cocktails and grown-up finger foods will keep your adult guests happy until the cake is served.

Cover the Rules Before Anyone Hits the Pool

Inground pools by companies like Pool Builders are perfect for entertaining but they're not without their restrictions. Make sure everyone is clear on the rules before they dip their toes in the water. Some suggestions for keeping safe are:

  • No one swims alone
  • An adult must be poolside (and paying attention) at all times
  • No running on the deck
  • No pushing, shoving or dunking other people

Depending on the depth of your pool and the ages of the children present, you may also want to make restrictions regarding jumping or diving into the water.

Limit Your Guest List

While your child might want to invite their entire class, it's important to keep the numbers manageable. Canadian YMCAs generally mandate that there is one adult present for each two child swimmers and you should strive to maintain that rule. Adults must be able to keep an eye on every kid at all times.

If your child wants more guests, consider discreetly inviting a select few kids for the pool party and having the rest of the gang over for cake and ice cream after everyone is finished swimming.

Consider Hiring a Lifeguard

For the highest level of safety for your child's guests, you should consider hiring a certified lifeguard to oversee your pool party. Trained to recognize swimmers in distress as well as able to perform CPR and other lifesaving measures, a lifeguard can put everyone's mind at ease. Contact your local swimming pool or YMCA; they'll have recommendations on who to call for services in your area.

Nothing beats a summer pool party for your child's birthday but with so many kids in the water, it's crucial to be on your guard. Keep the numbers manageable, have plenty of adult supervision and make sure that the kids know the rules. When you've properly covered the safety measures, all that's left is to have a great time!