As the weather is warming up and I’m planning my pool day, all I can think about is floats, sunscreen, waterproof speaker, snacks, extra sunscreen…safety? Wait, did I latch that pool gate before I left this morning? I wonder if I ingested too much chlorine this weekend. Yikes, I thought I saw something green in the water as I was walking by this morning? Was it a leaf or bacteria?

If you are a worried bod like me, well here are some safety tips for preventing illnesses and injuries when you swim, play and relax in the water — this summer and all year-round.

1. Learn to Swim

adult in red swimsuit helping a child in green swim shorts and black shirt practicing swimming

Drowning is a leading PREVENTABLE cause of death for children. But, this could happen to anyone at any age. Learning how to swim can help keep you and those around you safe in an unexpected situation.

2. Pool Reminders

  • Always keep pools secure by closing gates or doors
  • Remove or lock ladders when aboveground pools are not in use.
  • Keep chemicals secure and away from children and pets, wear safety equipment when handling and never mix different pool chemicals together. Learn more about pool safety.

3. Keep Your Mouth Closed

We know that you know that you’ve tinkled in the pool, lake, or beach before. Don’t deny it! And if you have, there are plenty of others that have too. Recreational water could potentially be contaminated with germs and amoebas that can affect a person’s stomach, skin, or respiratory system. Swallowing just a mouthful of water that contains germs can make you sick.

4. When in Doubt, Stay Out

Before you dip in that water, keep an eye out for algal blooms. Although most algal blooms are not harmful, some species of algae can produce toxins that have been linked to severe illness in humans and animals if ingested. 

green algal bloom in water
  • Keep children and pets away from waters that appear discolored or scummy.
  • Do not handle or touch large accumulations of algae, also called “scums” or “mats.” 
  • Skip using a water ski or jet ski over algal mats. 
  • Do not use scummy water for cleaning or irrigation. 
  • If you accidentally come into contact with an algal bloom, wash thoroughly.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT!

If you see a bloom, please make sure to report it to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality by calling (704)-663-1699.  

I think that about covers it all…Oh wait, before you head out, I forgot to mention that you should sign up for swimming advisories! CharMeck Alerts will let you know if the water is unsafe to swim in! If you’re planning swimming trips outside of the county, you can always look at the North Carolina State Department of Environmental Quality’s coastal swimming advisory map.

Okay, NOW go relax and enjoy the water – safely!