As parents, we are always looking for quick and easy hacks to make our lives a bit less hectic. Some tips and tricks on social media are lifesavers, to be sure. But according to a TikTok creator who is also a mom and a pediatrician, “there is no such thing as a life hack or a parenting hack when it comes to water, and pool safety, and your children.”
The creator, who shares content using the handle @niky.mamamd, stitches together another TikTok that has been viewed 2.7 million times, and liked close to 150,000 times to illustrate her must-see point.
In the original video, we see a mom explaining how her “hack” allows parents to swim in the deep end of a pool, while their little ones chill in a playpen or pack ‘n play placed in the shallow end of the pool.
The creator, who is debunking this shortcut to summer fun, calls the hack “a literal tutorial of how to set up a death trap in your pool,” and swears that her very strong statement is not an exaggeration.
“The amount of water in that playpen is enough for a toddler to drown easily,” she emphatically states. The pediatrician goes on to say that a child can drown in a matter of seconds, and with adults in the deep end of the pool, there simply wouldn’t be enough time for a rescue.
To those who wonder how the playpen placed in inches of water could be a child drowning hazard when toddlers are often placed in bathtubs or kiddie pools with the same amount of water, the doctor clarifies that these situations are also dangerous, and have led to drownings.
The biggest takeaway she wants parents to understand is that babies and small children should be supervised, within arm’s reach, at all times in the water, no matter what. “Do not take your eyes off of your children when they are in any amount of water,” the creator stresses, going on to add, “So please stop looking for hacks when it comes to pool and water safety.”
As a mom of a toddler, I found this video haunting, especially since we have a pool at home, and even though I think all parents believe we are doing everything we can to keep our small kiddos safe around water.
In our case, the pool is surrounded by a fence that my son is far too small to unlock. The exterior doors to the house are all equipped with a safety feature that announces when someone enters or exits. When we’re outside enjoying pool time, of course, I try to watch the little guy like a hawk—but with other kids also splashing around, and that I need to supervise, I’d be lying if I said I was within arms reach of my toddler every single second.
Grateful for the reminder on TikTok about just how dangerous the water can be when you have littles around, and how easy it can be for toddlers to drown “in a matter of seconds,” I turned to Samantha McDaniel, Head Site Coach of the Palencia St. Augustine Cyclones swim team in St. Augustine, Florida for more tips on water safety with small kids.
McDaniel, who also lifeguarded for eight years at the beach and the pool, watched the TikTok. “That doctor knows what she’s talking about,” she says. She seconds the notion the playpen hack is very dangerous.
“When I lifeguarded, most of the rescues I had were kids with flotation devices,” McDaniel adds. In other words, even when a child is wearing a flotation device, accidents can easily happen. There is simply no substitute for being close to your child—with your eyes on them at all times—when water is involved.
McDaniel, stresses that “products—with good intent—parents see in stores, give them a false sense of security.” The same can be said for the playpen idea. Ultimately, she wants all parents of littles to know, “We can only guarantee safety with our eyes on, and being at arms reach.”