As summer temperatures rise and people start enjoying more time outdoors, many kids can’t wait to jump into their local pool, lake, or swimming hole. However, this favorite form of recreation can pose certain risks that parents should know about and protect their children against.
The more thoroughly you understand how water sources, ultraviolet (UV) exposure, and heat or humidity can affect your children’s well-being, the more easily you can provide safety measures that let them swim in safety. Follow these four summertime water safety tips the next time you and your family hit the pool.
1. Protect Your Children Against Drowning Risks
Children who cannot swim may find themselves unable to remain afloat even in a shallow pool. The obvious preventative solution involves giving your kids swimming lessons. However, since accidents can happen to young swimmers and non-swimmers alike, you’ll want to practice other safety measures as well.
Always stay within arm’s reach of children with minimal swimming skills and fit them with a full life jacket (not just water wings) for additional protection. Watch your kids carefully, muting your phone to avoid distractions. For the ultimate reassurance, take a CPR course so you can rescue any kids in trouble.
2. Steer Clear of Contaminants
Any body of water can harbor contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. These unwanted guests can cause digestive, ear, eye, or skin infections. Most commonly, these contaminants can cause diarrhea in children, who may then transmit their germs to other swimmers.
To keep public pools safe for all the kids who use your local pool, don’t let a child who has had diarrhea within the previous couple of weeks go into the water. Use test strips to determine whether a pool has the right mix of chemicals to kill common disease threats. Stay away from water sources that receive no such chemicals.
3. Safeguard Young Skin From the Sun
Nothing can spoil an enjoyable day at the pool like a painful sunburn. Kids may never consider this health risk when they go swimming, so it’s up to you to prepare them for a safe outdoor experience by protecting them against the sun’s UV rays.
Start by applying a thorough coating of water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 to your children at least 30 minutes before they enter the water since it takes that long for the ingredients to penetrate the skin and take full effect. For complete coverage of large areas, look for special UV-blocking sports clothing that your child can wear in the pool.
Keep in mind that even water-resistant sunscreen has its limits. Once your kids have spent about 30 minutes in the pool, their sunscreen will wear off. Stand ready to bring your kids into a shaded area, reapply the sunscreen, and then wait for the necessary half-hour for that fresh sunscreen to take effect before returning to the water.
4. Keep Your Kids Hydrated
Don’t assume that a refreshing swim in the city pool automatically safeguards your kids against dehydration. The combination of summer heat, physical activity, and humid conditions will promote fluid loss through sweating, while the relative coolness of the water may confuse the body’s efforts to maintain a healthy core temperature.
To prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion in and around the pool, keep an ice chest full of cool water and sports drinks on hand. Watch for signs of possible heat exhaustion such as nausea, vomiting, and mental confusion. Move your kids to a cooler, drier environment if you start seeing these symptoms.
Consider taking a thermometer along when your family visits the pool on a hot day. If you see signs of heat exhaustion, take your child’s temperature. A high fever may indicate heat stroke, a condition calling for treatment from an urgent care or primary medical care provider.
Stellis Health can help your little ones have a safer, healthier summer both in and out of the pool. Contact us for any pediatric health problems that might arise. We’re here for the whole family!