Splashing into Summer with Pool Safety

By Julia Brady, summer student intern, Occupational Health Services
A life preserver and safety warning sign on a wall

Photo by Tracy Brower on Unsplash.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series on summer safety, written by Occupational Health Services student interns.

Few things say “summer” like splashing around in water, leaping off a diving board, and soaking up the sun. We’ve all heard the tried-and-true advice for swimming: don’t run near water, don’t swim after eating, don’t do horseplay. But there are some lesser-known ways to reduce your chances of having an accident. While it can be easy to overlook these rules when enjoying the pool this summer, consider following them to have a good time.

Swimming safety starts with the pool itself. To prevent pool-related injuries or drowning, pool owners can restrict access to all or part of the pool. “Install proper fences, alarms and covers” to ensure no unauthorized personnel or children enter, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

That includes special precautions with pool drains, because drains and suction openings can catch “hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits,” according to the commission. This can cause someone to become trapped, leading to the loss of fingers and toes or to drowning. In order to prevent accidents, drain covers should be installed, and swimmers should be instructed not to swim near or play with drains and openings.

Many accidents can be prevented by swimming in areas with a designated lifeguard. However, sometimes swimmers may dive in without a lifeguard’s supervision, such as at private and at-home pools, so the Red Cross recommends to “swim with a buddy” as a precaution. Even an experienced swimmer can run into trouble and a buddy can help perform a rescue and alert others that help is needed.

Children require even more vigilance. “No matter how well the child can swim or how shallow the water,” a “water watcher” should be designated even if a lifeguard is present, says the Red Cross. This ensures that someone is always watching the child to ensure no tragic incidents occur.

Extra precautions need to be taken with children still learning to swim or those who don’t know how to swim. Weak or inexperienced swimmers need to “wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water” and be closely monitored by an adult, the Red Cross advises.

While all these safety tips should prevent any tragic incidents from occurring, not everything can be stopped. Learning first aid and CPR can help save a life and prevent tragedies from occurring. This is something most anyone can do.


Julia Brady is a rising sophomore dual-enrolled at Hagerstown Community College and Frostburg University, majoring in nursing. She is a summer student intern for Occupational Health Services. Here she assists registered nurses and nurse practitioners with day-to-day clinical tasks, including basic patient intake and triage, venipuncture, vaccine administration, patient charting, and wellness promotion.

Blogroll teaser photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash.