How swimming safety can improve your summer

Happy family beside the swimming poolSummer equals fun in the sun and – if you’re lucky – in the water! Proper safety precautions should be taken any time you’re enjoying outdoor activities, but especially when they involve swimming or water sports. If you have kids, in particular, you’ll want to be prepared with some general rules to ensure everyone has a safe and memorable time.

Supervision – The number one rule of thumb is to never swim alone. For adults, don’t take the risk of a solo swim – especially in the ocean. You may suffer a debilitating cramp, swim too far and become stranded, or, if in the ocean, be swept out in a rough current. For children, they should only be in water when a lifeguard is on duty, or their parent is keeping a watchful eye. When keeping watch over children swimming, make sure that you aren’t distracted by chores to do in the house or phone calls to catch up on. Take the time to watch your children as they swim; enjoy having some time to sit in the sun in the process.

Preparation – Children as young as 2 years old can begin introductory “Learn to Swim” classes according to the American Red Cross. But no matter one’s age, it is important to learn proper swimming techniques and appropriate respect for water activities. Children who have some sort of swimming lessons have a greater understanding of the serious risks involved with water activities. Many cities offer group swimming lessons at the local YMCA or town pools. You can also seek out individual swimming lessons for a slightly higher fee. Lessons should cover proper swimming techniques and general safety rules such as walking when near the pool’s edge and never diving in undesignated areas.

Health – Any time you’re in the sun, choose an appropriate sunscreen. For those swimming, a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF should be applied every couple of hours. Young children should always have hats and long sleeved swim shirts on to protect their particularly fair skin. Adults should be careful to maintain proper swimming form and avoid over-exertion when in the water. Back and shoulder injuries can easily flare up if you aren’t careful to watch your movements; listen to your body and don’t push too far. If you are not in the habit of swimming, work your endurance up over time. Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular activity, but you can easily pull muscles or misalign your back if you have improper form.

Keep these rules in mind as you head to the nearest poolside and make the most of these summer months!

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