Safety tips for healthy swimming

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Make sure children are healthy and safe in the pool this water by following some simple steps. Image: blackred/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

A dip in the pool is one of the most pleasant ways to cool off, but splashing around does come with some safety concerns, especially for kids. Pool time, and time spent in hot tubs, water play areas, lakes and oceans, can spread recreational water illnesses (RWIs), increase the chances of burning and even drowning, especially with young children.

Here, we’ve put together some safety tips and advice to help the whole family stay healthy in the water all summer long.

Check the water

Properly treated recreational water is less likely to spread germs that lead to illness, so check if the water’s pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct. Also make sure that a trained lifeguard is on guard and adequate safety equipment such as a rescue ring or pole is available.

For more tips, you can do your own inspection using a simple 4-step checklist.

Check and clean yourself

Please: keep dirt and bodily fluids such as pee, poop, sweat and blood out of the water.

Shower before you get in, and stay out altogether if you have an open wound (for example, from surgery or a piercing) that is not covered with a waterproof bandage, or if you have diarrhea. For parents, remember that swim diapers and swim pants should not be used as a replacement for frequent diaper changing and regular trips to the bathroom, and do not protect against diarrhea (the most serious water contaminant) from leaking into the water.

Protect from the sun

You can still burn when in the water, as the sun’s rays reflect off its surface, so don’t forget the sunscreen. Protect yourself by using a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Stay healthy and safe once in the water

Don’t pee or poop in the water, or swallow the water.

Pay special attention to children and keep an eye on them at all times, kids can drown in seconds and in silence.

Take hourly breaks

To keep the water clean, take kids on bathroom breaks every hour and check and change diapers away from the water.

To keep the whole family safe, reapply sunscreen and drink up, to ensure everyone is taking in plenty of fluids in the heat.

Also remember to dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming to prevent ear infections.

For more information on how to stay safe in the water, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Healthy Swimming pages. JB

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