Who doesn’t love a great day at the pool? Swimming is one of my family’s favorite things to do in the summer. But as a mom of two children, water safety has always been at the top on my list of concerns. My sister-in-law has a pool. Whenever we visited her in Georgia, I would worry that my youngest child would decide to go for a swim while we weren’t looking, so I never took my eyes off of him. That can lead to stressful situations, so I did everything I could to make sure both of my kids were safe and not doing anything dangerous while they were swimming. Jerry Tolbert, MD
, from The Christ Hospital Physicians - Primary Care, weighs in with five tips for summer to keep everyone in the family safe in the water.
Learning to swim at any age is a big deal. I had both of my kids take lessons from an early age. They both knew how to swim, but I also had them keep taking lessons to become more advanced so that I didn’t have to worry about them every time they went to the pool. It really eased my mind and they both are now pretty good swimmers. With that being said, it’s never too late to learn to swim. I know of many places that provide lessons for people of any age.
This is the number one rule in my family. You are never allowed to swim alone, even now that the kids are older. Dr. Tolbert says, “When swimming with kids or supervising swimmers of any age, keep ‘arm’s reach, eye’s reach’ in mind.” So, younger children should be within arm’s reach and older swimmers should never be out of your sight. He also recommends eliminating distractions like your phone. Also, each parent should have a designated child that they are watching so that all the kids are covered.
We were recently at the beach in Florida that I call my “happy place". But, that happy place can get wrecked really quickly with a terrible sunburn, so sunscreen is key. One thing we noticed was that my son was in the water nonstop. The rays reflecting off the ocean were strong, and the sunscreen wears off more quickly in the water. He thought that since he put it on when he first went out that he was all good. Nope! We had to reapply several times to keep him from burning. Dr. Tolbert recommends putting on sunscreen every two hours and using at least 30 SPF.
It always sounds great! You’re on vacation just hanging out at the hotel pool, so who doesn’t want a piña colada? In the back of my mind, though, I am always thinking, “You have to be on high alert because you have two kids in the water.” It’s not just having to supervise; alcohol can lead to problems for adults in the water. According to Dr. Tolbert, it can affect your diving and swimming skills, and it lowers your body’s ability to stay warm. Not to mention the obvious reason…impaired judgment.
The one thing that eases my mind at the pool or beach is that I am CPR certified. Now, I hope I NEVER need to use it, but I am prepared should there ever be an emergency. Dr. Tolbert recommends getting certified if you are not already—and know when to call 911.
I hope these simple tips can help you relax and enjoy these last few weeks at the pool safely!
Did you know? Another great way to protect your family from anything that life brings your way is by having a great relationship with a primary care expert. Schedule an appointment online with one near you today!