Safe swimming takes effort from all sides, including both you as the swimmer and whoever is responsible for maintaining the pool and pool area. Safety in a pool includes both physical safety to avoid drowning and skin damage from the sun as well as RWI (recreational water illness) safety to both prevent the spread of germs and avoid catching them. By practicing a few simple actions, called your LAAPS, you can help everyone to have a safer swimming experience.
Who Should Read This Information?
Any individual who swims and parents who take their children swimming should be aware of these tips on how to practice safer swimming.
What Do You Do If…?
You are the pool owner.
Encourage safety around your pool. Always have someone watching the swimmers. Maintain the proper standard of cleanliness in your pool water with chlorine levels and intermittent cleaning of the pool. If small children are swimming, encourage them to wear a life jacket if they are unable to swim well.
You are visiting another pool.
Bring all the necessary safety items for your young children and yourself, including life jackets when needed and SPF sun screen. Learn the LAAPS and teach them to your kids before going swimming.
Practice Your “LAAPS”:
Observe the area around the pool for cleanliness. Also look at the pool water itself. Is it clean and clear? Can you see the lines/designs on the bottom easily? Check if the sides of the pool are slippery or sticky as this could indicate a poorly maintained pool.
Lastly, see if the pool equipment is in good working order such as the filters and pumps. You should be able to see and probably hear them working. Smell for an odor coming from the pool. You shouldn’t be able to smell the chlorine very strongly.
Don’t be afraid to ask the pool staff questions about the sanitation of the pool. Ask about how often the chlorine levels are checked, especially when the pool is more heavily used, as well as what the pH level of the pool is. Ask about the latest health inspection of the pool and what grade it received. Ask about the certification of the pool caretakers and if they are around on the weekends, because pools need more attention when they are heavily in use such as on weekends.
Take action to make sure other parents and swimmers are aware of the LAAPS guidelines for practicing safe swimming. Become aware of RWIs and how they are spread, pool safety practices, pool cleanliness practices, etc. You can even talk to your local pool caretaker and make sure he is aware of how important the safety of swimmers is to you and others in the community.
Some swimmers choose to take their own chlorine testing strips to the pool and test the water before they will swim. This is a good way to practice safe RWI prevention for you and your family.
Pay attention to RWI prevention and avoidance. Take hourly breaks for bathrooms, rehydration, and diaper changes. Use the bathroom, not the pool water. Do not let swimmers with diarrhea into the pool, as these germs can spread quickly. Avoid swallowing pool water.
The number one thing you should do when swimming is to practice safety. Apply sunscreen before swimming, during hourly breaks, and after swimming if needed. Make sure young children and those who are weak swimmers wear a life jacket in the pool. Watch your children while they’re swimming in case they encounter trouble.
Swimming safety is so important if everyone is going to enjoy the pool together. Be a responsible swimmer and practice the LAAPS guidelines to keep you and your family as safe as possible when taking a trip to the pool.