Get enjoyment out of your pool, not anxiety.
For many families, backyard fun in the sun involves the swimming pool. Experts recommend setting the stage for swimming safety before a single bathing suit ever gets wet. "Swimming pool safety should be on the minds of every parent," said Emily Piercefield with the Healthy Swimming Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Reinforcing safe swimming practices with kids is the best way to make them second nature - like wearing seat belts."
Here are some simple poolside health and safety tips:
Keep Swimmer's Ear at Bay - According to a recent article in the LA Times, swimmer's ear costs the United States nearly $500 million a year in doctor's visits and treatment. And it's not only children that are affeected. More than half of those who sought treatment for swimmer's ear from 2003 to 2007 were adults.
To ward off swimmer's ear, only swim in properly maintained pools, keep ears as dry as possible with a bathing cap or ear plugs and dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming.
Check for Healthy / Safe Water Levels - Swimming pools can be unhealthy if pool water is contaminated. The CDC recommends testing your pool's water. Products such as AquaChek® Pool and Spa Test Strips can be used to test pool water at least three times a week for active sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, other), pH, total alkalinity and other water conditions if the pool is not being used. If use of the pool increases, test more often.
Simply dip a test strip into your pool or spa, then compare it to the color chart on the product's label. You'll know immediately how safe and clean your pool water is and what chemical adjustments are needed to ensure continued cleanliness. Public pool users can also pack water test strips in their pool bag to check that the water is safe for swimming.
For more information on water testing, see our Water Testing page.
Keep Pool-Side Areas Clutter-Free - There were, on average, 4,200 pool or spa related emergency department (ED) submersion injuries each year for 2007 - 2009 and 385 pool or spa related fatalities per year for 2005 - 2007 involving children younger than fifteen years of age according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Comission 2010 report on Pool and Spa submersion.
To prevent accidents such as slipping and falling into or around pools, make it a point to pack-up pool toys and supplies that are not in use.
Put up Protective Barriers - Learn what types of enclosures, such as self-latching fences or gates, should be used to keep kids from entering your pool while unattended.
Set Pool Parameters - Establish guidelines for kids and visitors. Talk to kids about swimming only when an adult is present and never going to the bathroom while in a pool. Make sure all pool patrons understand the dangers of running, jumping and diving into and around pools.