Nothing feels better on a hot summer day than a dip in the pool. It’s a great way to keep kids — and parents! — occupied and happy. And while no one wants a damper on their fun, it is important to remember that pools can be dangerous places. While most trips to the pool result in a playful afternoon and fun memories, unfortunately drowning, poisoning and even chemical burns can occur.
According to the CDC, drowning is the top cause of accidental death in kids under 4, and the second leading cause in children ages 5-9. Pretty shocking, but with more than 10 million residential pools and more than 300,000 public pools in the United States, there are a lot of opportunities for injury.
Did you know that more than 4,000 people seek medical attention each year for injuries related to pools? We put together some tips to help you brush up on basic pool safety knowledge so you can keep your family out of the doctor’s office and enjoying your summer fun.
- Make sure you know how to swim and teach your child how to swim. It may seem obvious, but proper instruction and technique in the water goes a long way toward keeping you safe.
- Learn or brush up on CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) skills. Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
- Basic life-saving and water rescue skills are also good to know in case of a pool emergency.
- Never swim alone or allow children to swim alone. Even if a lifeguard is present, a buddy is always a good idea.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
- Just say no. Alcoholic beverages may seem like a good idea to beat the heat, but alcohol can affect swimming and diving skills.
Infection and Germ Safety: The two most common germs that cause trouble at the pool are called Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which can both wreak havoc on your digestive system. While pool chemicals are designed to kill these germs, chlorine isn’t as effective at killing Cryptosporidium in the water, so if you see anything questionable, ask the pool manager.
- More than 20 percent of Americans don’t know that swimming while ill with diarrhea can infect others. Do not swim when you or your children have diarrhea or other stomach issues.
- Don’t swallow the pool water and avoid getting it in your mouth.
- Take a shower before swimming.
- Take your kids on frequent bathroom breaks and change babies’ diapers in the bathrooms.
Chemical Safety: Proper storage and handling of pool chemicals is just as important as water safety tips to keep you safe by the pool. Whether you work at a pool, have your own, or are just trying to be helpful at your neighborhood pool, be careful when near chemicals.
- Read and follow directions on product labels.
- Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
- Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
- Keep young children away when handling chemicals.
- NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.
- Pre-dissolve pool chemicals ONLY when directed by product label.
- Add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemicals.
Most importantly, if something does appear to go wrong, it’s better safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to come by your local urgent care center to get checked out!
If you’re planning to spend your summer by the pool, what’s your plan to stay safe? Share your family’s safety plans with us!