Keeping Your Family Healthy & Safe While Swimming
Spending a lot of time outside and around the water? While swimming is a great way to exercise and stay fit, this fun activity can also be dangerous. The easiest way to prevent accident and injury is education and preparation. Learn more about ways to stay safe in the water year-round!
Don’t Swim While You’re Sick
If anyone feels “sick to the stomach,” it’s important to stay out of pools. For parents, it’s understandable that you can’t always prevent every “accident” for your child. But offering special attention to younger children on public swimming days can help keep others from getting ill. Even one pool accident can cause millions of bacteria — such as Cryptosporidiosis — to be released into the water. While most germs are killed by chlorine, bromine, and other common pool disinfectants, “Crypto” bacteria is not. It can live in pool water for over seven days, making it the number one cause of swimming-related disease in the United States.
Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged one to four years old, second only to birth defects? It’s also one of the leading threats to children from one to 14 years of age. When kids are near water, make life jackets a requirement. All children should wear life jackets when they are near bodies of water that don’t have a lifeguard. Weak swimmers should wear a life jacket even even when they are around water protected by a lifeguard. Even more important, adult supervision is crucial any time children will be swimming. Even older children, including young teens, are not equipped to supervise their younger siblings alone for a swim.
Practice Sun Safety
For many families, enjoying summer means spending lots of time outside to release some energy and get a little exercise. Practicing sun safety may seem like a given at the beach or pool — but don’t forget that reapplication is crucial, especially for kids. Anytime you and your family are out in the sun for more than 15 minutes, sun damage is a risk. This is because it takes only 15 minutes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage the skin. Sun damage can occur all year long, but it poses a more significant risk in summertime when more time is spent outdoors and the sun’s rays are stronger.
In addition to using a broad spectrum sunscreen or mineral sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, consider a hat and sunglasses. The clothing you wear can provide additional protection. Light, long-sleeve shirts and breezy long pants are a good option. Look for bathing suits that cover up more of the skin—like one-pieces or rash guards—and/or treated suits that offer an extra degree of protection from the sun. When visiting the pool or beach, bring a sun umbrella with you if possible.
These simple tips can help keep you protected during the summer months and all year long, too. Being aware and vigilant about these risks can help you and your family feel your best. If you or your child feel sick after a trip to the public pool, find an urgent care clinic near you to schedule an urgent care appointment today.