Before you make a splash, follow these water safety tips
Swimming isn’t just fun, it’s also a great way to stay fit. The non-impact activity can not only lower blood pressure, but can help arthritis. Did we mention it’s also listed as one of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s five best aerobic exercises? But before you put on your swim gear and hop into the pool, it may be time revisit some key pool safety tips. Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro Marni Kerner offers some advice for keeping you and your kids safe both in and around the pool.
In the pool:
- Swimming lessons: Learning how to swim before entering the water may sound like a no-brainer, but drownings continue to happen every year. The best way to prevent drowning, Kerner says, is not by sticking floaties on your kids, but by properly teaching them to swim. Bobbing, treading and floating are some of the first skills Kerner teaches kids during their swimming lessons. Those basic skills, along with a basic freestyle stroke and learning to safely climb in and out of the pool, can help kids survive should they get in a tough situation in the water.
- Goofing off: What may seem like a fun game for some kids can really scare others. Chicken fights, pulling each other under water or jumping on top of each other in the pool are all “games” Kerner says you want to teach your kids to avoid. Kerner has seen many adults who are fearful of the water, all because of a similar traumatic experience when they were kids. Bottom line─keep your hands to yourself while in the pool.
- Know your limitations: Swimming can be fun and often, a time to show off what you’ve learned. That being said, Kerner reminds both adults and kids to never swim above their ability. While it’s important for kids to practice their skills in the pool, Kerner reminds them to do so only with an instructor or adult supervision. Never swim alone.
Around the pool:
- Spot your safety equipment: Before you jump in the pool, make sure you locate the safety equipment around the pool, in case of an emergency. Life rings, rescue poles and first aid kits should be readily available around every pool. If you’re swimming at a home pool, Kerner reminds homeowners to always have a fenced-in pool area and always double-check the fence is securely locked.
- Stay weather aware: The weather is ever-changing, and that means a day that starts out warm and sunny can quickly turn stormy. Kerner says it’s important to check your local forecast before heading to the pool for the day. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors. Don’t wait for the storm to get close. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, lightning can strike from several miles away, so don’t take a chance.
- Stay hydrated: With water all around your body, it can be easy to forget about the water needed inside your body. Swimming is one of the top aerobic activities and despite being in the water, Kerner reminds swimmers that you can become dehydrated! Make sure to keep bottles of water near the edge of the pool and make sure to take frequent water breaks.
Now that you’ve completed your safety checklist, don’t forget to have fun! Kerner says swimming can be a great family activity and as she says, if you’re going to be by the pool this summer, you should enjoy it.
Looking to refresh your skills before swim season? Check out our April swim clinic schedule for both kids and adults. Kerner also teaches swimming lessons at Cooper Fitness Center year-round. Visit cooperswimacademy.com for details. Swimming programs are open to the public.