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Swimming Safety Tips for Summer

Summer is a time of fun and sun...and swimming! But although swimming is fun, it's important to be safe. Here are some helpful safety tips to ensure a safe summer of swimming.

Swimming Safety Tips for Summer

Summer is a time of fun and sun…and swimming!  Nothing feels better than jumping into a cool pool of water on a hot summer's day!  Swimming makes for great exercise too.  But although swimming is a fun, refreshing, and healthy hobby, there are still risks involved with swimming and it's important to be safe.  Here are some helpful safety tips to ensure a safe summer of swimming:

1. Walk! – How many times have you heard the lifeguard yell for people to walk around the pool?  Pool decks always get wet from people getting in and out of the pool and splashing in the water, and that water can make the pool deck slippery.  Take your time around the pool to avoid injury from slipping on the wet deck.

2. Swim in a supervised area. – It's always a good idea to swim where there is a lifeguard on duty, even if you are a strong swimmer.  Even if you are swimming at a lake, there are usually designated swimming areas at public beaches.  It's a good idea to stick to these areas, not only because there is usually a lifeguard there, but the water will be free of debris or other hazards that could be present in an area that is not being maintained for public use.  If the kids are out swimming in the back yard pool, an adult who can swim should always be supervising to ensure the children's safety. 

3. Take a friend. – Having a friend with you can help keep you safer for a number of different reasons.  They can notify a lifeguard if you get into trouble swimming, they can help you reapply your sunscreen, or let you know if you are getting sunburned.  Besides, swimming is more fun with company anyway!

4. Wear sunscreen! – Sunscreen is your friend!  Apply liberally and often.  It only takes 10-20 minutes of sun exposure to cause sunburn in most people.  If you multiply the amount of time it typically takes you to burn times the SPF number on your sunscreen, you will have the amount of time you should be protected from the sun in minutes.  However, most people don't use enough sunscreen, so you can easily cut that time in half just to be safe.  Make sure not to miss a spot and remember water and sweat can wash away sunscreen so you should always reapply after you get out of the water.

5. Get familiar with your surroundings. – If you are swimming somewhere for the first time, take a moment to get acquainted with the environment.  Take notice of where the first aid stations and exits are, pay attention to where the lifeguards are stationed, estimate how much sun exposure you will get now and as the sun changes position in the sky, and check the depth of the water in any area you will be swimming in.  Make sure water isn't too deep for weaker swimmers and make sure it is deep enough if you are going to be diving or jumping in!

6. Follow the rules. – Any public beach or pool that is supervised will have a list of rules posted.  Some rules are mandated by the Health Department and others can vary from place to place.  Most of them are common sense, and all of them are there to ensure the health and safety of everyone at the pool or beach.  You may not understand all the rules, but chances are they were created for a reason so it is probably within your best interest to follow them.

7. Know your limitations. – If you don't know how to swim, you should never go into water that is over your head and be cautious in the water at any depth, especially if you are not comfortable in the water.  If you are swimming for exercise for the first time, pace yourself.  Don't try to swim a mile the first day, you will most likely have to work up to swimming longer and longer distances.  Pay attention to the cues your body is giving you and don't make an injury worse by fighting through pain, especially in the water!

If you follow these safety tips, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to have a great time this summer soaking up the sun and soaking in the pool!

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