Playing in your own backyard swimming pool can be a lot of fun, but not everyone has the opportunity to do that. Whether you’re on vacation, living in an area that doesn’t allow pools, or you are waiting for yours to be installed, you may be inclined to take a trip to a public pool. However, a public pool is very different than your own pool and comes with some added risks. It is imperative that you practice proper public pool safety in order to ensure that you and your family are safe at all times. The tips below will help you do just that.
Go to Age-Appropriate Areas of the Pool
If you have small children in your family, make sure you stay in a shallow part of the pool. There may be separate pools set up for toddlers, school-age children, and adults. Take your child to the water feature that fits his or her age and swimming abilities. If there are not separate pools for separate age groups, look for a barrier in the pool marking the drop between the shallow end and the deep end. Make sure your child stays in the shallow parts of the water.
Stay Alert at All Times
It’s easy to get distracted in a public pool because of the amount of activity going on around you. You cannot let that distraction pull your eyes away from your kids. If you do not have kids, you should be aware of your surroundings in case someone needs your help. Be particularly mindful of small children nearby or elderly people. Even if you personally cannot help them, you may be able to alert the lifeguard on duty or someone else nearby to take care of the situation.
Look for a Lifeguard on Duty
Most public swimming pools will not operate without a lifeguard on duty, or multiple lifeguards proportional to the number of people at the pool. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to check your surroundings and make sure there is in fact a lifeguard around. If you do not see one or you do not believe there are enough lifeguards to monitor that size of a public swimming pool, you may consider contacting the waterpark or coming back at another time. Do not put your safety at risk if there is not someone around to rescue you at a time of need.
Pay Attention to Water Quality
The unfortunate part of swimming in a public pool is that it will not have the same level of sanitation as your own pool. Let’s face it; if there were hundreds of people getting in and out of your pool, you would have a hard time keeping it clean. At a public pool, you can’t really be sure the water quality is safe. Use swimming caps and ear plugs and when possible avoid putting your head under water. Also remember to shower as soon as you can after using a public pool.
Often, you cannot see poor water quality but if the pool looks visibly dirty – don’t use it. Also beware of strong chlorine odors, discoloration of the water and pool equipment that is in need of repair. Contrary to what most people think, a strong chlorine odor is not actually chlorine. Improperly treated water will have this odor when chlorine meets a lot of perspiration, body oils or urine in the water.
Read our article on “Why we shock pools” to see more on this topic.
Never Run around the Pool
This is an obvious and overstated rule, but it needs to be said again. You should never run on a pool deck or any area near the pool under any circumstances. The ground in these areas is very slippery, making trip and fall hazards quite high. Teach your children not to run around the pool so they can be prepared as well. If they do not listen or they are too young to abide by those rules, you may need to wait until they are older before taking them to a public swimming pool.
Learn to Swim, or Use Proper Floatation Devices
If you do not know how to swim, learn before you go to a public swimming pool. You can take swimming lessons through a number of organizations in your local area. As an alternative, you can invest in pool floatation devices (lifejackets, arm floats, etc.) to keep your head above water while you are in the pool. The only drawback to using floatation devices is that there may not be much room for them in a crowded pool. That’s why it is best to know how to swim, so you can enjoy the public pool without fear of drowning.
As long as you remain alert, focused, and aware while you are at a public swimming pool, you can have a good time and keep your family safe from harm.