With summer quickly approaching, there's only one thing on our mind (besides grilling and sipping on better-for-you margaritas, of course): going for a relaxing dip in our local pool. But before we dive in, there are a few things we'll be keeping in mind.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced thousands of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds they tested didn't meet important safety and health guidelines. Eeeek. But don't fear — staying safe while getting your swim on this summer is possible. You just have to be a bit of a detective.
The CDC has four tips to help keep you (and your family!) safe at pools this summer:
1. Make sure the water's pH and free chlorine or bromine concentrations are correct.
Does the water you're about to jump into pass the test? Make sure these CDC-recommended standards are up to par. You can test the levels with easily-accessible test strips sold at most stores and online ($15 for 100 count, amazon.com). Here's what you're looking for:
- pH between 7.2-7.8
- free chlorine concentration at least 1 ppm in pools and 3 ppm in hot tubs and spas
- free bromine concentration at least 3 ppm in pools and 4 ppm in hot tubs and spas
2. Spot the Drain
If the drain at the bottom of the deep end isn't visible, lifeguards aren't able to clearly see swimmers underwater. Make sure the water is crystal-clear before getting in.
3. Check the Drain Covers
Examine the drain covers; they should be secured and in good condition.
4. Look for a Lifeguard
Is there a lifeguard on duty? If no one's around, make sure there's safety equipment — like a rescue ring or pole — nearby. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
See something fishy? The CDC recommends staying out of the water and notifying someone in charge.