Be Poolside Ready: Family Safety & Hygiene Guidelines
Pool safety and personal hygiene are essential whether you’re basking in the backyard or heading to the local public pool. These 10 health-promoting tips ensure your family will be safe and sound while lounging poolside this summer.
1. Don’t drink the water. This is especially critical for young children. Pool water contains unpleasant bacteria, including saliva, mucus, dandruff and urine, to name a few. Be sure to inform your children of the hazards associated with swallowing pool water. Deter them from spitting into the pool and contributing to the bacteria lurking beneath the water’s surface.
2. Apply sunscreen regularly and generously. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes prior to going outside. Keep in mind, sunscreen only protects the skin for a maximum of 2 hours before it needs to be reapplied. It takes approximately 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover the entire body (equivalent to one shot glass). Utilizing spray-on protection? Experts recommend 30 to 90 seconds of thorough spraying.
3. Open cuts and scrapes aren’t welcome. Note that it is unhygienic and simply wrong to enter a pool with open cuts, scrapes and wounds. No one wants to come into contact with a floating Band-Aid covered in germs and dried blood. Be courteous. Be respectful. Be hygienic.
4. Clean your swimsuit after use. Avoid bacterial growth and mildew odor by cleaning your swimsuit with soap after each use. Teach your children to take responsibility for their own body, health and hygiene at an early age. After all, these are critical life skills that never go out of fashion!
5. Obey pool rules and set your own rules at home. It’s important for kids of all ages to be aware of and follow pool rules. The majority of slips, falls, stubbed toes and other poolside accidents are, for the most part, preventable. Basic pool rules include no running, no diving in shallow water, no splashing, no rough-housing, etc. When your child protects him- or her-self, they’ll simultaneously protect the well-being of others.
6. The pool is not a toilet. Take children on regular trips to the bathroom, as they may not vocalize their need to use the facilities. Most kids may not even realize they need to go to the bathroom (as they are submerged in water), until after the fact.
7. Wash hands after using the restroom. Whether at the pool or not, washing your hands is the best way to prevent contamination and block germs from spreading. Teaching your kids to wash their hands regularly and diligently is of utmost importance to their overall health, particularly at the pool.
8. Shower with soap prior to entering the pool. Take to the showers, rinsing off with soap to effectively rid the body of germs, dead skin cells, pollution residue, etc. Teach your children to respect public spaces, and show them the important role personal hygiene and cleanliness plays in our interaction with others.
9. Goggles and earplugs are a kid’s best friend. Goggles and earplugs will help protect you and others from passing on or catching contagious infections. Purchase protective swim gear to help protect you and your children’s health and well-being.
10. Keep your eye on the prize. In this case, the most precious and prized joy: your loving child. It only takes a split second— diverting your eyes—and your child can go under the water unnoticed by others. Safety inner-tubes and floating devices do not even come close to a parent’s watchful eye!