Swimming pools are a wonderful way for adults and children to have fun and get some exercise. However, it is also a place where accidents can occur without the proper safety rules.
A public swimming pool is a great place to take children to get some aerobic exercise and spend the day together. However, there are several safety concerns at public pools that you should be aware of before you take the family there. Besides following basic pool rules, there are a few other things you should know when you are at your local public pool:
- Lifeguards may be young but they are certified and you should encourage children to listen to them.
- Watch your own children, even if a lifeguard is on duty.
- Pools have a delicate chlorine balance. Stay out of questionable water.
Listen to Lifeguards
Lifeguards are responsible for saving anyone who is struggling or drowning in the swimming pool. However, most lifeguards would probably prefer to avoid accidents in the first place. Sometimes lifeguards are young and seemingly inexperienced, but they are certified professionals and they should be taken seriously. Don’t undermine a lifeguard if they prohibit you child from diving, running, or any other dangerous activity. If they would like to give your child a swim test they may suspect that your child has trouble swimming. Even if you think your children are adequate swimmers it is best to comply.
That being said, lifeguards are often young and possibly inexperienced. Report any guard who is not paying attention, has fallen asleep or leaves the pool without a replacement.
Lifeguards Are Not Nannies
It is the job of a lifeguard to scan the pool and monitor for anyone who is struggling or possibly drowning and administer emergency assistance if necessary. They are trained to keep an eye on many kids at once by keeping head counts and using wide angle convex security mirrors to survey the whole area. However, it is not their job to babysit your children. A lifeguard may be watching out for 30 kids at once, if they have to deal with a single misbehaving child they might endanger the lives of the other 29 children. Watching your own kids at the pool makes it safer for everyone.
Public Pools Require a Delicate Balance of Chemicals
A swimming pool is basically a container of standing water. Normally, unmoving water would be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria but pools have water filters and chemicals in them that are designed to keep them clean. However, using these safety measures requires carefully balanced chemicals and pH levels. Without enough chlorine, harmful bacteria can begin to grow and swimming may spread diseases. With too much chlorine, the water may irritate your eyes or skin.
Be sure to stay out of the pool during shock chlorination. This is when chlorine levels are elevated intentionally to destroy bacteria introduced by vomit or other bacteria ridden contaminants. You should wait to go back into the pool until chlorine levels are returned to normal. If the water in a pool looks questionable in any way, it is better not to go in.