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Health and Fitness News

Fun (and Safety) in the Sun

Poolside safety tips for your summer in the sun.

Swimming pools can provide endless hours of entertainment for kids during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, swimming pools also come with great risk.

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury deaths around the world, with an estimated 360,000 people dying from drowning each year. Because of the dangers associated with swimming pools, this fun in the sun comes with responsibility. Anyone using a pool must understand the rules that come with it. Otherwise the fun can quickly become your worst nightmare.

This summer, keep your family safe at the pool with these guidelines.

Swimming Lessons

A child or adult who knows how to swim is much less likely to drown. As early as possible, teach your child to float. When a child is 4 years old or older, he or she can be taught to swim. Any experienced swimmer can teach the basics or you can enroll your kids in swimming lessons at your local YMCA or aquatics center.

Supervision

Anytime children are in the pool there should be direct, competent adult supervision. All public pools should be supervised by one or more lifeguards. Otherwise, adults should take turns watching the kids. Don’t expect your kids to be safe in a pool with adults nearby. It only takes a few seconds for a young child to begin drowning. An adult should be in the water within arm’s reach of all infants and toddlers. No matter how good a swimmer you think your child is, nothing replaces adult supervision.

Rules

Kids should know the pool rules. Here are a few that will keep everyone safe in and around the pool.

  • Don’t run along the edge where it’s wet and slippery.
  • No pushing others into the pool.
  • Only dive in water that is deeper than eight feet. Diving in shallow water poses a great risk of spinal cord injury, brain damage, or death.
  • No diving into inner tubes or other toys.
  • Before sliding, jumping, or diving into the water, make sure there are no swimmers in your way.

Safety Measures

All pools should have at least a four-foot fence surrounding it with a childproof latch or lock. Alarms on the gate, house windows, and doors are additional safety precautions. While you’re by the pool, keep your phone nearby for emergencies so you don’t have to leave children unsupervised to answer a call or text. Additionally, supervising adults should know CPR and other rescue techniques.

Sun Exposure

Summer plus sun equals sunburn. Because water reflects the sun, you’re more likely to get burned at the pool or beach. Protect your skin from the dangers of UV radiation by applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing. The more sunburns you get, the greater your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer as well as one of the most preventable, yet folks ignore the warnings to wear sunscreen.

Approximately 20 minutes before heading to the pool, apply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin. Use a sunscreen that offers a minimum of 15 SPF and offers protection from both UVB and UVA rays. Reapply every two hours.

The sun’s rays are most damaging between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so early morning and late evening are the best times to hang by the pool without risking a sunburn. UV ratings are another way to gauge the sun’s UV radiation each day. A scale of 1 to 11 rates how strong the UV rays are. It’s safest to stay inside when the rating is over seven.

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