Brooke Walsh, Aquatics Coordinator for the Poway Swim Center has been around pools most of her life. She started swimming at the age of two and was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. Now that summer is here and the weather is heating up, we sat down with Brooke for a Q&A about pool safety.
Before families head out to the pool, what’s one thing that you want them to think about?
They need to be ready to get in the pool with their kids. When parents think about preparing for the pool, they typically think about sunscreen and things like that. While that’s really important, we want people to be prepared that lifeguards are not only here to watch your kids, they’re here to watch every other person in the pool. You should be ready to get into the pool and be within an arms’ reach of your kids to help keep them safe.
For families with younger kids, what’s your top safety tips?
Teach them that the water is fun, but you need to be careful. Young kids need to know that they shouldn’t go into the water alone - always have a buddy. Also, life jackets are great, but they need to be U.S. Coast Guard approved. And know how to use that equipment correctly. I’ve seen parents who have done everything right: they’re in the water with their kids, they have a Coast Guard approved life jacket, but then they put the jacket on backwards. It’s a lot to remember, but it’s all for a good reason: keeping your kids safe.
What about kids who are old enough to come to the pool without an adult?
Bring a buddy – don’t swim by yourself. That way you have someone with you who can get our attention right away if you need help.
What do pool guests need to be reminded of the most?
Walk - don’t run! It’s just that everyone gets so excited to be here and we get it. But it’s a pool and there’s water and we want everyone to be safe.
There are a lot of important safety tips, but if you could send just one message to people as they head to pool, what would that be?
Know your own abilities. We have swim tests for our younger guests to determine their level of water safety, but we hope that everyone else will know their own abilities and keep that in mind as they have fun.
Check out the Poway Swim Center’s info page to learn more about pool hours, swim lessons, inflatable days and much more!