Water Safety and COVID Exposure Safety around Swimming Pools
On March 13, 2020 Florida public schools closed their doors due to the spread of COVID-19. Around this time many companies began working from home as a precaution or found themselves needing to lay off employees as a result of a lack of business. On April 1 Governor Ron DeSantis gave a stay-at-home order. This means that most Floridians, both young and old, have spent a lot more time at home than they usually do. Unfortunately, there is another threat that is affecting families with young children all over the state in these difficult times: drowning.
The Florida Department of Children and Families states that in February and March of 2019 there were no cases of children by drowning, however according to this same source there have been 14 cases this year, six 6 of those cases took place in the month of March. This is a dramatic increase in a single year. Additionally, these are only the cases of fatal drowning. There has also been an increase in non-fatal drowning, which can also lead to devastating health complications or a long lasting fear of water. Several scary stories have emerged of toddlers finding their way to the backyard pool, without the family noticing.
Parents are under an immense amount of stress during these complicated times; between homeschooling, working from home, worrying about their family being at risk or unemployment. Children are curious and they are bored at home and become restless quickly. This might motivate them to explore or try to go swimming without mom or dad. All it takes is a few minutes for this combination to turn very dangerous: at best the family might suffer from a bad experience, at worst they might become part of a statistic.
Swim schools all over the state have closed as well, as these programs were not deemed essential businesses. As businesses begin to open again, many concerned parents are asking themselves “Are swimming pools a health risk?” The good news is that experts believe properly maintained pools pose no danger of contagion to the public! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that, “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools or hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (e.g. with chlorine or bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The experts believe that the maintenance we perform on our pools regularly at Ocaquatics should inactivate the virus. That is great news!
With this in mind, families can consider enjoying a day in the pool this summer, while always taking the proper precautions. At Ocaquatics we will be taking the following measures to protect our families and team members from disease, including:
A reduction of people in our facilities at one time.
Increased spacing and distancing in all areas.
Our team members will be wearing face shields.
Screening and non-contact temperature checks will be implemented upon arrival for every person that enters our building.
We will have sneeze guards at our front desks and boutique stations.
Cleaning all equipment between swim classes.
And it is always important to take water safety precautions as well. Remember to follow the Safer 3 from Stop Drowning Now Water Safety Foundation, and practice water safety whenever you are around water:
Safer Water: Install a fence around your pool, use sensors on doors that exit to a pool, and remember to cover all drains.
Safer Kids: Kids must learn, as young as possible, swimming and basic safety skills and always designate an adult water watcher to monitor the pool area at all times.
Safer Response: Emergency response techniques save lives. Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Keep a phone out by the pool at all times.
As we prepare to open our doors again, take advantage of our FREE Ocaquatics Online School to continue working on your family’s swimming skills! Whether it be in the backyard pool, or in your living room, it is never the wrong time to practice your strokes and learn about water safety!