Protect Your Family & Health With This Water Safety Guide
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It’s National Water Safety Month! Every May, we remind swimmers about the importance of safety around the pool as it’s one of the key responsibilities of pool ownership. Attentiveness to your swimming environment and building good habits will help prevent injury and allow your family to maintain a healthy peace of mind throughout the pool season.
If you have first time swimmers, contact your local aquatic facility to find swimming classes and lifeguarding classes provided by Red Cross instructors. For more experienced kids, it always helps to remind them of the rules at a public pool and the importance of listening to the Lifeguard on duty.
Here’s a list of the most important safety guidelines for each type of situation your family might encounter:
Make supervision mandatory. Teach your kids that it’s only okay to swim if there’s an adult nearby. This will train away the temptation for them to go swimming while you are at work or running errands.
Install a safety fence. Experts recommend 4 feet in height with slats close enough together that kids can’t squeeze through. Make sure there are no footholds for climbers.
Install an alarm. A water-level pool alarm is another safety measure that you can install so that you will be alerted when someone jumps or falls in the pool.
Teach them to dive carefully. Make sure children understand the difference between the shallow-end and the deep-end of the pool. If they are old enough, you can teach them how to read pool depths on the edge of the pool.
Wear sunscreen. It is critical that you and your children wear sunscreen when you are outside for an extended period. This will prevent painful and unsightly sunburns as well as protect your skin health in the long term.
Get rid of chewing gum. It’s easy to forget something as seemingly harmless as gum, but chewing gum is an additional choking hazard that becomes even more dangerous while you’re swimming.
Install a perimeter fence. For a similar reason as kids, a fence should be installed around the pool to protect your animals.
Not all pool covers are made equal. A pool cover that isn’t made specifically with safety in mind is a potential risk for animals. In fact, it can sometimes fool animals into thinking it is a sturdy, traversable path.
Don’t assume your pet can swim. Be especially careful around your pets if they haven’t been acquainted with water at a young age. Not all animals are natural swimmers.
Teach them how to exit the pool. If you are letting your pet swim, you should have steps or a ramp that they can exit from. Make sure they can enter and exit the pool on their own.
Always wear sunscreen! While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in painful sunburn, or even serious health problems like skin cancer or premature aging.
Wear protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses protect your body and eyes from harmful rays, but should still be supplemented with sunscreen.
Check the UV Index. Remember, the sun can be harmful even if you aren’t swimming. It can be useful to know how intense the sun’s rays are throughout the day by checking the UV index issued by the National Weather Service. Their rating will help you figure out what times of day you should be most cautious or even stay inside.
UV Suggestion Sunburn Time
0-2 Minimal protection is needed – Wearing a hat is sufficient More than 1 hour
3-4 Low – Hat and sunscreen with at least SPF 15 is recommended More than 1 hour
5-6 Moderate – Wearing a hat, applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and taking shade whenever possible is recommended About 30 minutes
7-9 HIGH – In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors between 10am and 4pm About 20 minutes
10+ VERY HIGH – In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors, if possible Less than 15 minutes