Here are my top 5 tips for both keeping safe in the sun and at the pool.
With summer fast approaching this is a great time to start preparing for fun in the sun!
1. The sun’s UV rays are strongest from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm during the day. Make sure if you are out in the sun during this time period you take frequent breaks to relax in the shade and allow your skin a break from direct sunlight. If you don’t have access to shade, don’t be caught without a shirt! Even blocking the rays with a shirt will give you a much needed break. Top of the head, nose and ears are common forgotten spots – a wide-brimmed hat works great for protecting these areas.
2. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before swimming for maximum protection. This is to give it time to absorb into your skin and not just wash off the second you cannonball into the pool! You’ll want to use at least SPF 15 (the higher the better) and something that provides UVA and UVB protection. Don’t forget the tops of the feet! It’s one of the easiest areas to burn and one of the most forgotten.
Keep in mind a child can burn in less than 15 minutes but not show a burn for up to 12 hours so don’t wait for the skin to turn pink. That’s already too late! Also, you can burn on even a cloudy day. Better to start each day by applying sunscreen if you know you or your child will be spending significant time outside. Sunscreen should be applied every 2 hours to keep it effective!
3. The best way to protect your children around a swimming pool is to teach them to swim! Lessons for children start as early as 6 months of age through Adult. Children will learn at their own pace so it is best to start at an early age but don’t let that discourage you if you haven’t started yet. Even a couple sessions of lessons give children the skills necessary to be more aware around and in the water. The PJCC offers year round lessons in its heated indoor pool so it is never too late to start!
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 in California. Which leads me to…
4. Hopefully the pool or beach you are swimming at provides lifeguards but even if they do, there is nothing that replaces ACTIVE parent supervision! Anytime your child may be in water they should be watched at all times. Pools can be very busy places with lifeguards watching a wide number of swimmers and activities. Children (and even adults) should never swim alone. Always make sure you have a buddy!
5. If you or your child is an inexperienced swimmer it is always best to wear a coast guard approved life jacket while in the water. One of my new favorite floatation devices that meet this requirement for children is called a “Puddle Jumper”. It can be found on Amazon and currently at local Costco warehouses. Suits with built-in floats are convenient but have not passed the rigorous testing of the Coast Guard for an approved floatation so many pools don’t allow them.
So, now you are armed to have a safe and fun summer!