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Carrington College Blog

Summertime Swimming Pool Safety: Myth vs. Fact

May 18, 2016

Summer days are full of fun in the sun—and hopefully, safety in the pool! Whether you have little ones just learning to swim or big kids showing off their strokes, it’s important to teach children about pool safety to prevent injury. Of course, little kids should be supervised at all times while swimming, and should have the right amount of preparation for swimming on their own in the deep end. We also know that pool sides are slippery, so we caution: walk, don’t run!

But what about some other pool safety rules? Consult the following infographic for some reminders about how to stay safe during the summertime—and maximize fun!

pool safety guide

How Long Should You Wait To Swim After You Eat?

30 minutes: MYTH

While poolside myth may have it that you should wait 30 minutes after you eat before swimming, that’s exactly what it is—myth. Why are moms so worried about swimming on a full stomach? After eating a meal your body directs a lot of energy to your gut for digestion, which theoretically means the blood is not rushing to your arms and legs, which you need to swim—thus sparking fears of fatigued children drowning from a full belly. However, the good news is that while the body does send extra blood to the stomach for digestion, it’s not enough to keep your limbs from operating as usual. The worst case scenario for those who want to eat while swimming is a cramp!

Are Pool Drains Dangerous?


Pool drain safety is an item on the list that should be taken seriously. You may have heard warnings to stay away from pool drains, and these are not overreactions. Pool drains can trap a swimmer through force of suction, especially if something like jewelry, hair, or a bathing suit gets caught. Staying away from pool drains decreases risk of drowning, so teach your children about the risks. Also, make that sure that kids’ hair, jewelry, and other belongings are not loose while swimming. To be extra safe, you can check that your pool has compliant drain covers, and you can even install an automatic pump shutoff system.

What Do Pruney Fingers Mean?

You’re waterlogged: MYTH

Pruney fingers are one of nature’s weirdest adaptations! Kids everywhere marvel at their strange raisin-like fingers, but what do pruney fingers mean? Even though Mom might say it’s time to get out of the pool when she sees those pruney fingers, her reasoning may be bunk. It’s a myth that pruney fingers mean your body has soaked up too much water. Instead, it’s actually a neat adaptive mechanism in the nervous system to help your hands more easily grip onto items when underwater. Pruney fingers are actually meant to keep you safe while swimming!

How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen?

Every 30 minutes: MYTH

We all know that we should wear sunscreen. This is not a debatable fact, but the question is: how often should you apply it? Common wisdom may say every 30 minutes. Of course, we don’t want anyone getting sunburnt, but it is truthfully not necessary to reapply sunscreen every half hour. Instead, for water-resistant sunscreen, the reapplication period should be every 40 minutes, while waterproof sunscreen needs to be reapplied only every 80 minutes.

What Causes Red Eyes In Swimming Pools?

Chlorine: MYTH (sort of)

We all know that sometimes you get bloodshot eyes from swimming. What exactly causes that? Is it too much chlorine, as many would think? While this a reasonable assumption, it’s not the whole truth. In fact, “pool eyes” are caused by a combination of chlorine and urine, which create something called chloramine, which is a derivative of ammonia. Unfortunately, there may be no clear-cut way to avoid bloodshot eyes from the pool, but it is always a good idea to remind kids to use the bathroom before swimming.

We hope these poolside mythbusters help you and the kids have a great summer!

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