Swimming safety tips for summer
It’s that time of year when the weather is warming up and kids spend more and more time in the pool. While the pool is a great way to stay active throughout those hot summer months, it can also put your little ones at risk of injury.
Whether you have a pool at your home or plan to take your kids to a community pool to cool off, there are certain swimming safety tips to enforce so that your children stay safe this summer.
Why water safety is important
Each year, an estimated 320,000 people die from drowning worldwide. Sadly, in the U.S., 23 percent of drownings occur during a family gathering by a pool. And in addition to drowning, there are a number of other injuries that can occur at both home and public pools that can be easily prevented by practicing proper water safety.
Whether you have small children or older, more experienced swimmers, it’s vital that you enforce rules to help keep your pool safe. So before your little ones hop into the pool to cool off this summer, make sure you’re prepared.
How to keep your pool safe
For home pools, there are certain things you can and should do to keep your pool area safe — especially if you have young children. Here are several things you can do to make sure your pool is a safe and enjoyable place for your whole family.
Install a pool fence
If you have young children, it’s imperative that you build a fence around your pool. This creates a barrier between your children and the pool, which will prevent them from accidentally falling in when you’re not there to supervise. Make sure that the gate on your fence opens outward and that it’s self-closing and self-latching.
Consider an alarm system
There are different types of alarms to help keep your little ones safe. Once you’ve installed a pool fence, putting an alarm on the gate can notify you any time it’s been opened. An underwater swimming pool alarm system is another great option that will let you know if someone jumps or falls into the pool.
Get rid of the diving board
Although diving boards can be fun for older kids, they are also a big contributor to pool injuries. Even if your child is an experienced swimmer/diver, it is still possible for them to slip off the board and hit their head. Diving boards are also an easy way to get an accidental sprain or strain.
Keep chemicals out of reach
Young children are notoriously curious, and pool chemicals can be tempting as they’re often left in an exposed area around the pool. When possible, store pool chemicals in an area that can easily be locked and is well ventilated.
What are some pool rules?
It’s important that you implement some pool rules whether you have a pool at your home or are planning to visit a public pool. Some rules that will help keep your pool a safer place include:
- Never run around the pool
- Don’t dive into the pool in an area that isn’t designated for diving
- Only get in the pool if there’s an adult nearby
- Find a swimming buddy to join you any time you’re in the pool
- Apply sunscreen any time you’re headed to the pool (even on cloudy days)
- Never push someone in the pool — even if they’re a good swimmer
- Spit out gum before you get in the pool to avoid choking
- Keep food and drinks out of the pool
- Avoid using glass bottles outside by the pool
- Allow at least 30 minutes after eating before swimming
Are public pools safe to swim in?
In general, yes, public pools are safe to swim in so long as there is a lifeguard on duty. Public pools are often crowded, so even the pools that do have lifeguards can be dangerous if pool rules aren’t followed.
Many parents are also concerned about the cleanliness of public pools. It’s inevitable that any body of water being used by hundreds of people is going to contain germs. All public pools will use chlorine to ensure their pools are safe for kids and adults to use; however, chlorine can only do so much.
Your best bet is to check if the pool is regularly checked by the health department. Just like restaurants, many public pools receive a score based on their overall cleanliness and safety. You should be able to access these scores online.
Are pools safe during COVID?
You may be wondering if pools are safe or if your kids can get COVID from swimming with others. The short answer is that the virus cannot be transmitted through water. However, the virus is highly contagious when you’re in close contact with someone who has it, so public pools can be a health hazard.
If you’re planning to take your little ones to a public pool this summer, be sure to practice social distancing when possible and avoid sharing pool time snacks and drinks with others.
If your child experiences an injury from the pool, consider visiting your local CareNow®. We treat all kinds of injuries common to summertime, including sprains, strains, minor bruises, bug bites, and more.
With more than 175 locations throughout the U.S., we’re able to provide you with convenient care both after hours and on the weekends.
Don’t forget to use our Web Check-In® feature before your appointment so you can wait from anywhere!