Safe Swimming Checklist

According to the World Health Organization, there are 360,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide, making it the third leading cause of unintentional injury death. The good news is that there are are things that you can do to make swimming safer. Use this list as a guide to help make sure that you and your family stay safe while swimming.

They say you should always look before you leap. It's good advice! Stay safe on the water with this safe swimming checklist. Click To Tweet

Do you have an injury?

Is it safe for you to swim?

  • Do not swim if you have an injury that affects your ability to swim.
  • Open wounds — from cuts, piercings, surgeries, etc. — can get infected. Consider staying out of the water.
  • If you decide to swim, wounds should be covered with a waterproof bandage.

Is there supervision?

Swimmers should always have some type of supervision, regardless of the swimmer’s ability. Even experienced swimmers should not swim alone.

  • Is there a lifeguard on duty?
  • Will there be an adult? Children should be supervised at all times when swimming.

Examine equipment

Look closely at ladders, diving boards, and pool equipment to make sure that they are safe and in good condition.

  • Are drains and pumps covered?
  • Are flotation devices working properly?
  • Do not use equipment that is unsafe.

Is the swimming area safe?

It is especially important to check the safety of the swimming area when you’re swimming in natural bodies of water, but you should also check home and public pools.

  • Check the depth and know where the deep and shallow spots are.
  • Make sure there aren’t any hazards under water. Look for submerged rocks or logs, and make sure there’s nothing that you could get caught on.
  • Check for currents, sharp rocks, broken pool tiles, animals, etc.

Check pool chemicals

Incorrect use of pool chemicals can result in rashes, burns, and respiratory illnesses.

  • Have the right chemicals been used?
  • Have chemicals been used in the right amounts?
  • Are pool chemicals stored safely out of reach?

Can you see through the water?

Clear water makes it easier to keep an eye on swimmers and spot any underwater hazards.

  • Pay extra attention in waters with low visibility.
  • Don’t let clear waters lead to a false sense of security. Swimmers should always be supervised.

Can you swim?

Some people are excellent swimmers while other can barely tread water. Some people never learn how to swim.

  • Know your limits and stick to swimming places that accommodate your ability.
  • If you or a family member can’t swim, consider swimming lessons.
  • Children who cannot swim should wear flotation devices when in or around water.

First aid

  • Do you know CPR, or do you have first aid skills?
  • Is a first aid kit readily available?
  • Is a rescue ring or pole available?

Walk, don’t run

People know that they’re not supposed to run near water, but they still do.

  • Wet surfaces are slippery, and falls can lead to fractures.
  • Walk when close to water, but also walk through walkways, entrances, and in locker rooms.
  • If the surface is wet, or if the surface could be wet, you shouldn’t run.

Do you have sunscreen?

Wearing sunscreen may not seem like a swim safety requirement, but it’s extremely important. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Sunscreen reduces exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation.

  • Look for SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant, “Broad-spectrum” sunscreens.
  • Put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours or sooner if needed.
  • Take breaks from direct exposure to sunshine; get in the shade.

Do you have water?

It’s easy to forget that you need to drink water when you’re spending the day splashing around in it.

Do you have questions about swimming safety?

Your primary care physician is your best resource for any of your health questions. Meet with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.

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