Summer Pool Safety Tips for You and Your Kids
Swimming and water sports are popular summertime activities. Swimming, in fact, is the fourth most popular sports activity in the nation. To avoid water associated risks, however, it’s important to exercise appropriate swimming pool safety. The following pool safety tips will help protect your family against injury and illness, so you can enjoy a worry-free summer.
Pool Safety Tips for Preventing Injuries
By far, the most serious child pool safety risk is drowning. Drowning ranks number one in unintentional injury deaths among children ages one to 14 years. For children between the ages of one and four, it claims more lives than any other cause except birth defects.
Even those who survive a drowning, often experience brain damage. This can lead to memory problems, learning disabilities, or a possible permanent loss of basic functioning.
To promote child pool safety, make sure your kids learn basic swimming skills. Always discuss potential dangers with your children before they enter the water. That way, they will have safety top of mind. Make sure your kids know to stay away from pool drains.
Designate a responsible adult to be the water watcher. Ideally, this should be someone with CPR training. The American Heart Association credits immediate CPR with doubling or even tripling a drowning victim’s chances of survival.
The designated water watcher should forego texting, reading, and any other distractions while the kids are in or near the water. If possible, rotate this position so that everyone finds time for fun and relaxation.
You should also check to see that all pools, spas, or water parks your children visit have proper pool safety devices in place, such as barriers that prevent children from entering the water without proper supervision. If staying at a hotel, make sure the gates are self-closing and self-latching, or require a keycard for entry. If staying with family or friends, check to see if there is a door alarm to alert you if a child enters the pool area unsupervised.
Some of the most essential swimming pool safety devices are VGB-compliant drain grates to prevent swimmers from being sucked under. All public pools and spas are required to have them. It’s important, however, to ensure these grates are secured and working properly. You can either inspect them yourself, or ask the owner to confirm that the proper protection is both in place and in good repair.
Pool Safety Tips for Preventing Illnesses
Another key element of child pool safety is keeping your family’s pool time healthy and germ-free. Do not swim or allow your kids to swim while experiencing diarrhea. Just one incident in the water can release millions of germs, including Crypto (Cryptosporidium), E. coli, Giardia, norovirus, and Shigella. Swimmers become ill when they ingest these germs from swallowing contaminated water.
Although disinfectants such as chlorine or bromine kill most germs within minutes, Crypto can live in even well-chlorinated water for up to seven days. As a result, it’s the leading cause of swimming-related outbreaks in the U.S.
To protect your family against Crypto and common pool-related illnesses such as swimmer’s ear, check the latest pool inspection results online or onsite at the pool. You can also purchase your own mini-inspection test strips from pool supply, hardware, and most superstores. The proper pH lies between 7.2 and 7.8. Free chlorine concentration should be a minimum of 1 ppm for both pools and water play areas. For pools using bromine, the concentration needs to be at least 3 ppm.
To protect others, always shower for at least one minute before entering the water. This will wash away most of the dirt and sweat from your body. It’s also important to stay out of the water if you have an open wound, or to at least cover the wound with a waterproof bandage.
To prevent kids from urinating in the water, take them on bathroom breaks or check their swim diapers once every hour. Always change diapers in a bathroom or proper changing area to avoid spreading germs near the pool.
Pool Safety Tips for Sun Protection
Being around the water also ups the risk for another summer pool safety risk, sunburn. Always apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. To be completely effective, sunscreen should be generously applied 30 minutes before going outside. Pay special attention to noses, ears, lips, and the tops of feet, reapplying every two hours, or after swimming or sweating—even when using a waterproof or water-resistant product.
If possible, head indoors during mid-day, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. If you can’t get indoors, seek shade under an umbrella, tree, or pop-up tent.
Clothing can be another effective way to protect against the sun. Wear hats that shade the face, neck, scalp, and ears. In general, dry clothing will protect better than wet, darker colors better than lighter ones. Ideally, look for clothing certified for UV protection according to international standards.
You should also wear wraparound sunglasses to shield the eyes from close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Proper eye protection helps prevent cataracts later in life.
Finding Appropriate Care For Pool-Related Injuries and Illnesses
To aid a drowning victim, always call 911 immediately. If trained, perform CPR until help arrives.
For non-life-threatening pool, water, or sun-related injuries, accidents, and illnesses, you can head to your nearest MD Now Urgent Care. Our physician-led medical centers are comprehensive, state-of-the-art facilities, open 365 days a year, throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Indian River counties.
Our services are a convenient alternative to the typical long wait time for a doctor’s appointment or sitting for hours in an ER waiting room. Walk-ins are welcome, and all major insurance plans are accepted. You can check in online at www.MDNow.com, or by calling 888-MDNow-911.