June 28, 2017
4 Swim Safety Tips for Summer
Good News… Summer is here! If you love the water like we do, then this means a visit to a swimming pool (or two) is on your list of summer to-dos. Whether your visit to a pool is during a vacation to the Bahamas, in your neighborhood, or in a family member’s backyard; swimming is fun for families, provides a great workout and lets you enjoy the warmth of the season.
Most pools offer safe, family fun, but being around water will always call for some caution. Both the water and its surroundings should be set up for the safety of its swimmers. If you follow the 4 Swim Safety Tips below, we can help make sure your Aquatic visits this summer are a HUGE Splash!
1. Pick the Right Pool
The area surrounding pools can vary widely, from outdoor backyards to indoor cement slabs. The same general principles of safety apply to all. Surfaces around the water should offer traction and be kept mostly dry. Access to the pool area should be restricted, such as by lockable doors or gates. Water depths should be clearly marked to warn swimmers of any diving dangers.
When it comes to the water itself, clear water isn’t always clean, and clean water won’t always look crystal clear. The chemistry of a pool can be complicated and even the clearest looking water could be harboring some pretty dangerous bacteria, including Cryptosporidium. How can you tell if the refreshingly cool, blue water you are about to jump into is safe? Check out the infographic below on how you can use your senses to weed out a bad pool.
Most pools are well cared for, but knowing the signs of a bad pool can give you peace-of-mind when choosing your summer splashing spot!
2. Don’t Rely on Inflatable Swimming Aids
Pool noodles, inner tubes or even pineapple shaped floats are all fun to play with in the pool – as long as they are not used as lifesaving devices. It is a common misconception that water wings are safe for young non-swimming children. Remember that if you can inflate it, then it can deflate; and if you can slip it on, then it can slip off.
Only properly fitted lifejackets, puddle jumpers and other US Coast Guard approved items should be relied upon to keep non-swimmers afloat. A good pool should always have a few of these on-hand, just in case a non-swimmer is in need. Some facilities do not allow inflatable items in the pool, so it’s always a good idea to check before you bring them in.
3. There is No Substitute for Active Supervision
Most pools staff an on-duty lifeguard to enforce rules, scan the water and respond to any accidents that may occur, but not every facility does. Some hotels and backyard/neighborhood pools provide a swim-at-your-own-risk environment. In these situations, it is important that you never swim alone. It is always a safe idea to swim with a buddy. Even the best of swimmers should follow this advice, as accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. After all, an inconsequential issue on land – like a cramp in your calf or dizzying bump on the head – becomes a very dangerous situation in water. If children are playing in or near the water, parents or guardians should keep a watchful eye, remembering that seconds matter when it comes to water accidents.
4. Learn How to Swim
Learning to swim greatly reduces your chance of water accidents, but it also greatly increases the fun! Knowing how to swim may let you feel more comfortable in the water, and it is excellent exercise as well. When it comes to development, swimming lessons may benefit kids outside of the water. Children can start learning water skills as early as 6 months; adults can learn to swim no matter what their age. Whether you learn better in a group setting or do best one-on-one, there is place for you in the pool!
Swim lessons should not be your only safety strategy of course. Proper supervision, swimming with a buddy, utilizing US Coast Guard approved flotation devices, and picking the right pool can all help to keep you and your family safe during your aquatic visits. We hope you follow these four swim safety tips this summer, as you splash your way through the warm days ahead. We hope to see you in one of our MIT Recreation pools soon!
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