Even though school bells are going to be ringing soon, there’s still plenty of time to take a dip before the swimming pools close. Persons who live in cities or communities with swimming pools are very fortunate, and may not realize what is involved in keeping them safe. Swimming pools are regulated by several federal and state agencies. OSHA has issued standards regarding pool employees’ exposure to chlorine and bloodborne pathogens. Employees’ training must be documented, and personal protective and safety equipment should be furnished. Swimming pools must also assure patrons that locker rooms and showers are safe from predators and ensure that the decks around the pool are safe, preventing slips and falls.
The following tips apply to swimmers at swimming pools, and also in and around rivers and lakes:
- Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
- Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” — too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
- Swimming and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol impairs your judgement, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
- Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays — UVA increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat’s effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.
- Obey all rules and posted signs.
- Wear eye protection: Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
- Wear foot protection: Keep in mind that your feet can get burned from the sand on a beach, or cut from glass in the sand, or pavement at the pool.
- Watch the weather: Stay tuned to local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Watch local news programs. Get out of the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
If your children don’t know how to swim, be sure to see about getting swimming lessons for them. Many pools offer free lessons. You never know when someone is going to need help around the water, and it’s important for you to be able to rescue them. Even if you swim, it’s a good idea to take a refresher course. A panicked swimmer can pull down a seasoned swimmer trying to rescue him. If you know anyone who can’t swim, encourage him/her to learn. It might just save a life.
Source: American Red Cross