Pools are a great way to cool off during the summer, exercise, and create memories with your family!
Back in the day, I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. (Trivia — my high school 100 backstroke record stood for 19 years!) So today I want to talk about safety at the pool, in particular HOA, backyard or community pools that don’t staff a full time lifeguard.
These tips will keep you and your family safe(r) when you’re at the pool!
(1) Use a zipped life preserver on children who can’t swim well, or who are under 4. (Please don’t buy the inflatable arm floaties, they can easily be poked, creating a slow leak, that can catch an unprepared child off guard if you aren’t paying attention! Those make every lifeguard cringe!)
(2) Walk around the pool — no running. Every time you go to a public pool you hear a lifeguard blowing the whistle asking people not to run. There is a good reason for it. Puddles make pool concrete very slippery and easy for anyone running to slip, break a bone or sprain an ankle or wrist. Kids tend to run when they get excited, just discourage them from running.
(3) Don’t swim alone. This is a universal rule for children and adults alike. It is dangerous to swim alone — anything can happen while you’re in the pool, such as a leg cramp, that can impair your ability to swim to safety. Depending on the posted pool rules, a child under 14 or 16 may require supervision.
(4) Pools with no lifeguard are at your own risk. So you are responsible for anything that happens to you or your family while you’re there.
(5) Stop texting when supervising. This rule didn’t exist in my day, but it certainly does now! Anything can happen in a matter of seconds — like a 2 year old wearing blow up arm floaties can drift into the deep end of a pool where it doesn’t belong!
(6) Drink responsibly, if at all. Drinking impairs your judgement and reaction time. This can put you in danger at the pool. This is especially important in hot tubs where your heart rate is impacted with the combination of the excessive heat and the alcohol.
(7) No glass. Period. Bring plastic cups, plastic or beer cans, and paper plates. You can injure yourself and the people around you.
(8) Speak up to your HOA or community if the pool water doesn’t look right. If the water is cloudy, green, excessive amounts of debris floating, doesn’t smell of chlorine or smells to the point where is is overpowering, stinging your eyes or making your skin red or excessively itch, say something to the powers that be! Readings for chlorine should be between 2-3, and pH 7-8, at safe healthy levels. You can also call your local health department for the latest report.
Pools are a refreshing way to cool down and enjoy the summer sunshine. Just be safe!