Project Description

A Parent’s Guide To Pool Safety & Hygiene

Parents are renovating their backyards to accommodate family leisure now more than ever. Last year brought a major shift directly into our lives and backyards, but parents are ready to take back control. In their article “Backyard Pool Sales Booming as Coronavirus Keeps Us Stuck at Home This Summer” New Jersey Advanced Media reports that requests for pool installations in 2020 skyrocketed according to pool store owners. Many families, like the Norato family in the NJ Media article, decided they would install a pool in their backyard due to canceled family vacations, closure of summer camps, or the overall lack of activities available for children and families. According to the article, “Not wanting her daughter to miss out on valuable swim instruction, Jennifer Norato decided she would install a pool in the backyard of their Butler home… ‘My husband was adamant about never getting a pool until this,’ Norato said, ‘but the pandemic changed things’.” It’s no surprise parents are placing a higher importance on having a safe and secure location to spend time with their loved ones, but one where they dictate the rules and regulations.

Did you know, “Pool” was the top Zillow keyword search term in 2020?

We Can All Agree, Pools Are Great

As we discussed in our “February Is Love Your Pool Month” post there are many reasons to love your pool!

TEXSUN’S TOP 5 REASONS TO LOVE YOUR POOL:

  1. Oasis of Your Dreams: Create The Backyard of Your Dreams
  2. Invest In Your Home: Build Your Nest Egg
  3. Staycation Destination: Stress Free Affordable Vacations
  4. Comfort & Safety: Have Your Children Swim Safely
  5. Age Beautifully: Exercise & Health

Installing a pool is a great way to bring the family together, and as we’re starting to learn, nothing beats vacationing in your own backyard. Pools are becoming the central focus of home buyers, and subsequently increase the value of existing homes. Installing a pool is a great choice when it comes to home renovations. Read our post to find out more reasons why Texsun loves pools!

Conveniently Exercise In Your Own Backyard

Pools are also a fun and great way to exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses”. Not only do they provide amazing physical benefits, but major mental benefits as well! Along with improving symptoms of people with chronic diseases such as arthritis, it can help improve moods in both men and women, and even decrease anxiety and depression in those who suffer from fibromyalgia. Read Healthline’s “12 Benefits of Swimming” for all the great reasons. We encourage anyone with a pool to take advantage.

Did you know, according to The Mayo Clinic Water Aerobics & Swimming laps can burn more than 400 calories per hour

According to Statista’s “Number of participants in aquatic exercise in the United States from 2006 to 2018” there has been an increase in aquatic exercise participants above the age of six from 9.53 million in 2006 to 10.52 million in 2018. 2015-2016 saw an increase from 9.23 to 10.58, and the number of participants held above 10 million year after year since 2016. We expect these numbers to continue their upward trend in 2019 and 2020 due to the nationwide lockdowns, especially as reports from the CDC stated they are not aware of any scientific evidence that the COVID-19 virus spreads to people through the water in pools & hot tubs.

Source: Statista – “Number of Participants In Aquatic Exercise in the United States from 2006 to 2018”

Did you know, according to Medical News Today “Research suggests that only 21 percent of adults are meeting the physical activity guidelines, while less than 5 percent perform 30 minutes of physical activity per day.”

As we age, it is our job to ensure we take care of our bodies, so that we can keep protecting and providing for our families. As parents it is our job to ensure our children are getting the proper diet and exercise to give them the best chance for success in the future. Accomplishing these tasks are difficult as our work and every day life responsibilities increase. On top of that, our kids tend to have their own agenda when it comes to what they eat, and spend their time on. How can we make sure we our devoting enough time to our and our children’s well-being even with life’s obligations? Well, there’s good news!

In “Favorite sports to watch among kids in the U.S. 2020” from Statista 11% of Generation Alpha (children born between 2010-2025) Parents said Swimming was their child’s favorite sport to watch. The number increased amongst children in Generation Z (children born between 1996-2010) where parents reported 15% of their children say Swimming is their favorite sport to watch. The first step has already been taken care of for us, which is getting them excited about swimming. The chart illustrates as children get older, their interest in swimming grows.

Source: Statista – “Favorite Sports to Watch Among Kids in the U.S. 2020”

The Importance of Swim Training

Pool Safety & Hygiene Guide

Now that our definition of vacation has shifted towards “stay”-cation, has the increase in purchase and installation of pools brought an increase in pool safety & hygiene awareness? The International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Association (IFSTA) founding member, Swimming Teacher’s Association (UK), found “that 70% of parents think swimming is the most important sport for children to learn—with 62% saying it’s an invaluable life skill”. This indicates most parents are aware of the need for swim training, but according to STA UK “while this research suggest British parents understand the true importance of swimming, the reality is a lot different with only a third of parents saying they take their children swimming at least once a week”. Parents’ understanding of how important swim training is evident, but unfortunately that understanding is not being turned into action. The truth becomes more alarming as we dig deeper. According to a poll done by Parents in 2017, “more than a third of parents would let their kids swim alone, and 1 in 7 would allow it if their child wasn’t able to swim independently.” There is no circumstance where a child should be allowed to swim without adult supervision, and even less when it comes to a child who has not had the proper swim training.

Is the confidence in our children’s innate ability to swim founded? Are our children capable of supervising themselves, and each other, in and around the pool? The simple answer is no, regardless of how much swim training they’ve had. According to a survey done by the Red Cross, “nearly all parents (94 percent) expect that their children will engage in some sort of water activity this summer. However, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of parents report that their child cannot demonstrate all five basic skills that could save their lives in the water. Of these, 65 percent are parents of children (ages 4-12) and 51 percent are parents of teens (ages 13-17)”. Two-thirds of parents. That amounts to a lot of children unaware of proper pool safety. What’s worse is that amounts to a lot of potential drownings just waiting to happen.

Additionally, “23% of child drownings happen during a family gathering near a pool.” According to the survey conducted by the Red Cross “Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of adults who are not able to perform all five water safety skills expect to supervise a child near water this summer”. This is an exponential case for disaster. Keep in mind, the NDPA states “Drowning is fast and silent. It can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.” That means parents, or those supervising, have less than a minute to react when it comes to drownings. Again, we ask, are our children capable of supervising themselves in or around a pool? If almost one out of every five adults is incapable of performing the basic water safety skills, then how do we expect our children to be prepared for such an event? They aren’t and we shouldn’t expect them to be.

These statistics shed a sober light on the reality of swim training. If 70% of parents believe learning to swim is so important, why is it that according to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) “drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury related death for children ages 1-4”? Again, there is no excuse for why our children should be swimming unsupervised.

Did you know, baby swim lessons are not recommended until after your baby’s first birthday. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is currently no evidence that infant swim programs can lower their drowning risk.

An Olympian Frame of Mind

In Business Insider’s article “An Olympic Gold Medalist Explains Why Teaching Kids to Swim Is Just as Important as Teaching Them to Walk” Rowdy Gaines, a 59-year-old former Olympian Gold Medalist, “believes that when a child learns to walk, they should learn to swim. And that’s not just for the kid’s benefit — it can provide parents with peace of mind… He reminded me that 80% of child drownings happen in front of parents; hot tubs and bathtubs are notoriously dangerous. ‘There’s a 88% reduction in risk if they take swim lessons,’ he said”. We have the ability to reduce our stress and worry while simultaneously enhancing our children’s skills just by providing them with the proper swim training. As Rowdy Gaines stated, it can provide us as parents with peace of mind, and greatly reduce the risk of our children running into danger while playing and socializing.

As parents, what can we do to minimize the risk of injury to our children while they enjoy the family pool? The NDPA is a great resource. Visit their Water Safety Tips page for a list of what they deem as “simple layers of protection to prevent drowning and aquatic injury” such as:

  • Educate children and adults about water safety and swim training
  • Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean.
  • There is no substitute for adult supervision.
  • Designate a “Water Watcher” to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings
  • Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd’s hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside
  • Only use proper and approved floatation devices
  • Do not confuse proper and approved floatation devices with toys

Our Parental Responsibility and Commitment

Our responsibility as pool owners goes beyond maintaining and ensuring our pools are clean and in proper working order. We have a parental obligation as pool owners to ensure the children in our homes receive proper swim training, and that the adults who will be supervising their swim activities know CPR, or at least the basic life saving skills required. The Red Cross’ article “Survey Finds Children, Teens Lack Basic Swim Safety Skills” lists these critical water safety skills or “water competency” skills. They are the ability to, in this order:

  • Step or jump into the water over your head;
  • Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute;
  • Turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit;
  • And exit from the water
  • If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

We must emphasize, do not consider children “drown proof” because they’ve had swim training! Take every measure possible!

Parents Magazine has a list of water rules to help minimize injuries that could lead to drowning.

Beyond Pool Safety: Pool Hygiene & RWIs

Source: By Amy Chang, Program Assistant, Environmental Health, NACCHO.

Pool safety goes beyond drowning prevention. Keeping our children healthy while swimming is part of making sure they are safe in a pool. According to the CDC “From 2000 to 2014, almost 500 recreational water illness outbreaks were reported to CDC”. Recreational water illnesses are diseases we contract when we swim in unclean and untreated water. The most commonly reported illnesses were: Acute gastrointestinal illness (such as diarrhea or vomiting), Skin illnesses (such as rash), Acute respiratory illness (such as cough or congestion). All of these can be prevented through proper pool chemical balance and maintenance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so be proactive when it comes to maintaining your pool, rather than reactive. Your family’s health will thank you.

Disinfection with chlorine or bromine is the first defense against the germs that cause recreational water illnesses in pools, hot tubs/spas, and water playgrounds. Next is ensuring proper pH balance. Chlorine is the sanitizer that guards and defends your pool water, while pH plays a support role in ensuring the chlorine present in your pool is doing its job. Simply focusing on whether or not there is chlorine present won’t do. At the recommended pH levels, chlorine or bromine can kill most germs in the water within minutes. Make sure you’re aware of the pool conditions your family is swimming in. Make it part of your swim training!

Protect yourself and others from RWIs and follow the Six Steps for Healthy Swimming from the CDC:

Three Steps for All Swimmers

  1. Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  2. Don’t swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
  3. Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

Three Steps for Parents of Young Kids

  1. Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.
  2. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
  3. Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.

Warning Signs of an Unclean Pool

What are some of the warning signs of an unclean or improperly maintained pool? The CDC offers “Steps for Healthy Swimming” to help protect yourself and those you care about. There are a few easy and effective steps all swimmers can take each time we swim, play, or relax in the water such as:

  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible, as cloudy water can be a sign of germs in the pool
  • Use pool test strips to make sure the water’s free chlorine or bromine level and pH are correct
  • Make sure no chemicals are out in the open

Texsun has these suggestions for spotting an improperly cared for pool:

  • Check for spots with algae growth – Algae present suggests an improper amount of sanitizer in the pool. Hello petri dish! Stubborn types of algae require algaecides in addition to chlorine for removal. Algae = bacteria = no swimming!
  • Check for pitting in the plaster – Pitted plaster is indicative of lack of balancers in the pool, which will cause swimmer discomfort such as itchiness, dryness and irritation. Improper pH effects our skin and eyes negatively. We want to protect them. Remember, improper pH means the chlorine in the pool will not work effectively. Chlorine is your major line of defense!
  • Check for film or buildup on the waterline – This can mean lack of circulation and filtration. Oils, lotions, sweat and dirt are left behind by swimmers, so the more swimmers you have in your pool, the more maintenance your equipment will require. Poor circulation will prevent chemicals from properly mixing in and doing their job.
  • Overflowing skimmer baskets – All the debris and grime the skimmer baskets catch and remove from your pool has running water that leads directly to your filter. Not only will this reduce your filtration as the filter clogs up, but will reduce water circulation.
  • Strong smell of pool chemicals in or around the pool – This is not a good sign. Properly mixed chemicals, and properly balanced pools should not have a strong chemical smell. If you smell chlorine, that means the pool contains chloramines and is unsanitary! Chloramines are caused by the binding of chlorine with body waste such as sweat and urine.

Texsun Has Helped Keep Families Safe & Informed About Pool Safety Since 1982

How can Texsun help parents keep their children safe and healthy while swimming? Texsun carries safety equipment such as life hooks, life preservation devices, certified floats, and more. Additionally, we have almost 40 years of experience when it comes to pool maintenance. In 2019 we were inducted into Aqua Magazine’s Aqua 100. Texsun was among the first 10 pool companies to receive the distinction, making Texsun one of the Top 10 Pool Companies in the country in 2020 according to the industry leading publication.

In March of 1996, Texsun Pools introduced ProTeam Supreme, a more effective way of preventing Algae. Since then, our customers who have enrolled in our Algae Free Guarantee program have enjoyed bacteria and germ-free pools. In addition to brining in superior chemicals, Texsun improved its water testing capabilities to meet the demands of modern day pools. We introduced the WaterLink® Spin Touch® powered by BioGuard’s Alex system in 2017. Texsun was the first pool company in Houston to use the photometer technology, even before the big box stores. This just proves we put our money where our mouth is.

Texsun proudly sponsors local swim programs and encourages swim training for kids. In 2021 we are sponsoring the Memorial Northwest Marlins Swim Team. We have sponsored multiple teams over the years, and will continue to do so as an advocate of youth swim training.

As part of National Water Safety Month, we are proud to say that we have pledged to be a safe swimmer. We encourage you to do the same. Visit the link provided to take the pledge, spread the message, and be an advocate. #BeWaterAware

USEFUL LINKS

Here’s an extra list of useful links for parents to check out: