Take a swim

461917107Swimming is such a quintessential part of the summer experience. The fun, laughter, memories, and of course it’s a great way to cool down on a hot day.

How can you make this summer adventure a safe one? These tips can help.

Remember, children should never be left unsupervised in a pool. Even the best swimmers (children and adults) can use the watchful eye of others. In Kentucky, unintentional injuries are the most common cause of death for children. Supervision is imperative while your children are swimming.

Infants can be in a pool, but a good rule of thumb is that children younger than 6 should be within arm’s length of a responsible adult. Even older adolescents shouldn’t swim alone. They should at least swim with a peer in case anything should happen.

If you are taking floatation toys with you to the pool, that’s fine, but don’t rely on them to protect a child from drowning. The same thing is true for swimming lessons. They are wonderful, but children still need adult supervision in the water.

I also recommend that parents learn CPR. Be familiar with the area and check to see if a lifeguard is on duty. If you don’t see a lifeguard, look for the nearest life preserver. If you are on open water, make sure that everyone has a life vest and is wearing it properly at all time.

When you are out by the pool, it’s also important to keep in mind a few other things.

Put on your sunscreen! Most sun damage to the skin occurs before the age of 18. Sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before going outside to give it time to absorb into the skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends applying sunscreen with at least 15 SPF and to reapply every two hours, after swimming or after sweating.

Mild contact dermatitis from chemicals in the pool or sunscreen can occur, but usually is not serious and gets better with time. If you think it is the sunscreen, check the ingredients and change to a different brand. It is possible to pick up a skin infection in pools or hot tubs, but that is also mild and usually fades with time.

The most important thing is to enjoy this time with your kids! So suit up, be within arm’s length, and have fun playing with them instead of sitting on the side!

 

Need a pediatrician? Visit UofL Pediatrics to learn more about our physicians, locations and specialties.

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About Heather Felton, M.D.

Dr. Heather Felton is medical director of UofL Pediatrics – Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre. She is also an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She is a member of the American Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and Group of Women in Medicine and Science. Her specialty is pediatrics. Dr. Felton’s areas of interest include safety and injury prevention; improving anticipated guidance provided to families during check-ups; and advocating for children’s safety. http://www.uoflphysicians.com/uofl-pediatrics-sam-swope-kosair-charities-centre

All posts by Heather Felton, M.D.