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It’s Summertime Which Means Pool Time – Swim Smart, Stay Safe

I was born and raised in Arizona and without a doubt my favorite season growing up was summer. Ice cream, watermelon and substantial tan lines…all words that come to mind when I think of my childhood summers. But most of all, summer always meant countless hours at the public pool, the place I loved going to most. And though my love of swimming would eventually fade over the years, staying safe around water is something that continues to be a heightened priority for all.

On this episode of “Your Health” we visit Hubbard Family Swim School to learn more about water safety and how swimming is not only an imperative life skill, but also greatly impacts people physically, socially and even cognitively.

Swimming at the pool several times a week was always a fun summer tradition. Cheerfully posing at Sunnyslope Pool alongside my friend, Miranda, at age 7.

Safety First

It should be no surprise that learning how to swim is essential if you plan on being in or near water. Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths in children ages one to four. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Most water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe around water.

The American Red Cross provides a wealth of water safety tips and reminders including:

  • Absolutely never, for any reason, leave a child unattended near water.
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim and enroll them in age-appropriate swimming lessons.
  • Never allow anyone to swim alone – always use the buddy system!
  • Installing and using barriers around your home pool is a must.
  • Enroll in a water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.

The American Red Cross offers a free app you can also download for water safety guidance on-the-go.

Swim Smart

Hubbard Swim School is celebrating their 20th anniversary and I had the pleasure of chatting with the school’s founder, Bob Hubbard, on the importance of exposing children to water at an early age and some of the misconceptions of water safety. Bob shared some wonderful information and advice – take a look!

Be a Water Watcher

In his interview Bob mentioned the importance of having a Water Watcher when children are swimming. Again, a Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to attentively watch the kids in the water while wearing a Water Watcher card. After a certain amount of time (ie. 15-20 minutes), the Water Watcher tag is passed on to the next adult in line responsible for actively supervising those in the water. Being a Water Watcher is a great water safety tool for adults to take turns supervising their children in the water!

Pet Pool Safety

If your family is anything like mine, our four-legged friends are always close by. And although we don’t have a pool at home, perhaps you do, so here’s a tip! Be sure to always wash any pool chemicals off their fur, not only can it irritate their skin but if they swallow it when they lick their fur they can get sick.

Also, did you know that not all dogs can swim? Most people think all dogs are natural swimmers (I was one of them), but that’s actually not the case. Some breeds – the bulldog, for example – cannot swim at all and will sink if tossed in the water without a flotation device holding them above water. Experts say 90 percent of dogs are capable of learning how to swim and the key is teaching them in a relaxed setting.

Remember when it comes to water safety, stay proactive and intentional.

Stay healthy (and safe), my friends!

Erica Cardenas (@ericacardenas1)