Pool Safety for Kids
Dr. Jack Cornwell, medical director at CareWell Urgent Care, weighs in on the most common injuries and how they can be avoided.
On a hot summer day there is nothing like a refreshing swim to cool yourself off. But as pool season starts, it’s essential to be aware of the pool-related injuries that ruin summer fun for thousands of children every year. Here are some of most common injuries and how they can be avoided.
Swimmer’s ear is one of the most common summertime illnesses and swimming pools are often to blame. The ear is designed to funnel water out of the outer ear canal, but when too much water rushes in at once, it creates a pressure imbalance and pockets of water can become trapped inside. Bacteria love warm and wet environments, so if you swim in a pool that's not treated regularly, you may create the perfect breeding ground for germs to grow inside your ear canal. Though this may sound serious, swimmer's ear is most often cleared up with over-the-counter drying ear drops.
It is crucial to reinforce with children that they shouldn’t run near a pool. Wet surfaces, especially the tiled areas commonly found around a pool, can be exceptionally slick, making it easy for children (and adults) to slip and fall. While bruises and scraps can easily result from these falls, there is also the potential that your child could slip and fall into the pool.
These types of injuries are incredibly common around inground pools with plenty of surface area. While you might be worried about cuts from the fall, hitting the ground hard can also cause injuries that could make it very difficult for children to get out of the water on their own, if they fall in. Parents should constantly remind their children to walk and not run at the pool.
Parents always tell their children not to dive headfirst into the water. While this lowers the possibility of severe spinal injury, jumping into the shallow part of a pool feet first, is no less dangerous. If the water level in your pool is low, your children are at a greater risk for twisting or spraining their ankles, knees, wrists and elbows. While these injuries are far from life threatening, the swelling and stiffness from a sprained joint can be very painful. The lower the water level, the greater risk of injury, so be sure to keep an eye on the amount of water in your pool and children dive in the deep end of the pool.
Irritation From Too Much Cleaner
Chlorine and other disinfectants are essential to keep pools safe from water-borne bacteria, but if you're not careful about using chemicals the right way, you could create a caustic pool of water that can irritate swimmers' eyes, ears, airways and skin.
Usually, you can notice the acrid smell of a pool overloaded with too much cleaner, but if swimmers start to complain about stinging in their eyes and throat or a rash develops, get them out of the pool immediately and seek immediate medical attention. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to test your pool’s PH level regularly and make sure it is properly chemically balanced.
The good news is that for the most part, all these injuries can be prevented and easily treated, either on your own or with the help of your doctor or local urgent care center. At the end of the day, paying close attention pool safety is critical to having an injury free summer.