Swimming is a great way to spend time with family and friends while having fun and staying active. It keeps you happy and healthy, reduces stress, and gets you in shape while encouraging a sense of community. But in order to have a truly healthy and safe swimming experience, especially with small children, it’s important to know some basic safe swimming practices to prevent drowning, disease and the negative effects of swimming pool chemicals.
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is bringing attention to Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (HSSW), which highlights the roles swimmers, parents, aquatics staff, pool owners and public health officials have in maintaining a healthy and safe swimming environment for swimmers everywhere.
Here are a few simple ways to help you and your family enjoy a safe and healthy year of swimming:
No one wants to think about the possibility of a child drowning in a swimming pool, but the reality is that drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children. In fact, three children die every day as a result of drowning. While drowning is a serious risk whenever young people are playing in the pool, parents can take an active role in preventing such a tragedy.
Teach Kids to Swim
One way that parents can help prevent children from drowning is by teaching their children to safely swim and float in the water. By teaching your kids to swim, they can learn to avoid drowning even when you’re not watching them.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is one of the most important skills to learn in order to prevent drowning deaths. Sometimes when a person is submerged in water too long, they become unable to breathe and experience “near-drowning”.
This lack of oxygen will cause many of the body’s systems to shut down and can lead to the rapid onset of brain damage, which will occur much more quickly in children than in adults. Fortunately, CPR can be effective even in saving people who have been submerged underwater for a long period of time, especially if the water is cold.
Fence Off Your Pool
Small children can easily wander near your swimming pool and end up falling in. To prevent this, install a gate or a fence around your pool to restrict access to it. If you’re at a pool without a fence, keep an eye on your children to make sure they don’t slip into the water unnoticed.
Use Life Jackets
With small children who don’t know how to swim, make sure they’re always wearing lifejackets or floaties whenever they go near a pool or any body of water. They might not be happy about it, but it can ultimately save their life.
Illness and disease probably aren’t the first things on your mind when you’re heading for a nice day by the pool, but getting sick from dirty pool water is something that nobody wants. By taking a few proactive measures, you can save your kids and yourself from missing work or school with a nasty virus.
Shower Before Swimming
When too many people get in a pool without showering first, the contaminants on their bodies combine with chlorine in the water. This makes the chlorine less effective at killing germs and creates combined chlorines, or chloramines, which are the main cause of skin and eye irritation as well as air contamination caused by swimming pools.
Showering before getting in the water will help keep the pool water clean and ready to fight any germs that might be in the pool. Also, make sure to never get in the pool when you have diarrhea, and never swallow pool water.
Use Supplementary Sanitation
Supplementary sanitation systems such as advanced oxidation (AOP) technology, ozone or UV can help disinfect your pool water and destroy contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. This will help your chlorine and filter to be more effective as well, creating a much safer and healthier swimming environment. Pool germs can cause skin, ear and lung infections, so an effective sanitation system that will prevent infections can be worth its weight in gold.
Prevent Crypto Outbreaks
Some recreational water illnesses, such as Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto”, are resistant to chlorine and can continue to live even in highly chlorinated water. AOP systems can eliminate up to 99.99 percent of Crypto in pool water, offering protection that chlorine cannot. In order to maintain a completely safe and healthy pool, supplementary sanitation systems such as AOP are a necessity.
Whether you’re a homeowner, pool operator, aquatics professional, or just someone who likes to swim, it’s important to understand the best practices for swimming safely and healthily. If you take the time to protect yourself and be ready for the worst, you will thank yourself later.