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Water Safety 101

Mother holding childs hand

It’s your go-to place for summer fun, a backyard pool, and there’s no place you’d rather be on a sunny day. Your pool is where you gather for parties, surprise get-togethers and for relaxation throughout the summer. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re safe in the water this summer:  

Rule the Day

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) insists that parents follow  these simple, no-exception rules. When the pool is not in use, there should be no toys left nearby. Never allow ride-on toys poolside. Electrical devices should be kept away from the water. Absolutely no diving in a pool that isn’t deep enough. And, as always, NO RUNNING! Post pool rules in your pool area and make sure all your guests know what the rules are.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that, in addition to being capable of performing CPR, all pool owners should be prepared for an emergency by having rescue equipment, like a shepherd’s hook and life jacket, as well as phone near the pool.

When children are in the water, “touch supervision” is recommended, however the buddy system works well for older children and should apply to adults as well. The old adage, “safety in numbers” applies to all ages. The AAP also recommend that children are never left unattended and that you designate an adult as a “Water Watcher” who, while on duty, has no other task – this includes playing cards, reading a book or playing on a mobile device. Some take it a step further and supply the water watcher with a whistle and wide-brimmed hat!

Play it Cool

Protecting your skin while in the sun is one of the most important things you can do during pool season. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sunscreen labeled as “broad spectrum” with an SPF of at least 15. SPF 30 or higher is recommended for use during extended stays outdoors.

Sunscreen is most effective when applied about 30 minutes before stepping into the sunshine. Make sure it’s waterproof, and reapply every two hours or so, more often if you’re drying off with a towel during that time or pulling clothing on and off. And, don’t think just because there are clouds in the sky that you’re in the clear. You should still apply sunscreen. Always apply sunscreen liberally, saturating the skin and pay attention to ears, neck, feet and toes – and be sure to include the face, avoiding the eyes.

Take the Pledge

Encourage others to be safe swimmers with a safe swimmer’s pledge. You can create your own and customize the pledge to meet the needs of your pool or you can use the one available on the National Water Safety Month’s website. If you want to create your own safe swimmer pledge, here are a few ideas on what to include:

  • To never swim alone
  • To never play or swim near drains or suction fittings
  • To always dive feet first
  • To obey all pool rules
  • To never run near the pool
  • To always wear sunscreen

While it’s important to be safe, it’s also important to have fun, so get out there and play!