Poolside Dos and Don’ts

Author: Alecia Pirulis

swimming pool

swimming pool (Photo credit: freefotouk)

My kids are restless. We’re in the home stretch – there’s only a month or so left until the end of the school year, and they have swimming pools and sun-filled beach days dancing in their heads. Soon, apartment complexes and parks departments across the country will be opening their community pools.

Now, a good day at the pool is what summer is all about, but there are certain people who make others cringe when they arrive poolside: The person who thinks we all enjoy the same music and blasts theirs to ear-popping levels, the inappropriately-dressed exhibitionist (there is such a thing as too much skin, even at the pool), the person lugging enormous rafts and oversized toys into the pool area, the toddler splashing around in the pool sans a swimming diaper, and those who think it is perfectly fine to express themselves in loud expletives.

Here are a few things everyone should remember before packing up the cooler and heading to the pool:

Showering before getting into the pool removes hair product, deodorant, perfume, dirt, and sweat – all stuff nobody wants mixing around in the pool. Keeping the pool clean will help prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs). Proper chlorine levels will reduce the spread of RWIs, but following these guidelines will go a long way toward keeping the water clean and healthy.

Speaking of staying healthy, don’t forget to use sunscreen! Yes, during summer everyone wants that glow, but make sure it isn’t a fire-engine-red glow. And if you do accidently get sunburned, treat it gently while it heals. Swimmer’s ear is painful — take these steps to prevent it. Other safety concerns: don’t run around the pool, don’t dive into shallow water, and keep an eye on weak and non-swimmers. Most pools have a rule against rafts, large inner tubes, beach balls, etc. to prevent accidents. Make sure anything you bring to the pool meets the posted pool rules.

Guests are great – in small numbers. Many apartment communities limit the number of guests you can bring at a time. The pool is intended for residents, and while a friend or two is fine – eight or ten may be violating community rules. If you want to have a pool party, consult with your apartment manager and see if there’s time available to use the pool area.

The lap lane is for laps. If your apartment community has one, this lane should be left open for safety reasons. If you are a lap swimmer, you may want to consider using the lap lane during less-crowded times, such as weekday mornings.

Finally, obey the smoking rules, don’t bring glass bottles to the pool, watch the kids, don’t use up more space than you need (your duffel bag doesn’t need its own chair – really) and clean up before leaving – follow the old camping rule and leave only (wet) footprints behind.

Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy a great summer at the pool!