The Greater Des Moines community is full of activities this time of year, and swimming is a summer favorite. From splash parks, lazy rivers and water slides, there are many ways to escape the heat of an Iowa summer. Here are some helpful tips to keep the entire family safe in the water, and links to local community pools where you can make a splash!
Help promote safe swimming by following these water safety tips from the American Red Cross and UnityPoint Health- Des Moines:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child's life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person's ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, affects swimming and diving skills, and reduces the body's ability to stay warm.
Keep Kids Safe
Swimming is fun and refreshing, but also an activity that should be taken very seriously by parents and children alike. Nearly 1,000 kids die each year by drowning, making it the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24.
Don't assume that a child who knows how to swim isn't at risk for drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels. Kids need constant supervision around water - whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, an ornamental fish pond, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach or a lake.
Young children are especially vulnerable - they can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimeters) of water. That means drowning can happen where you'd least expect it - the sink, the toilet bowl, fountains, buckets, inflatable pools, or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as ditches filled with rainwater. Always watch children closely when they're in or near any water. Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm's reach to provide "touch supervision."
Don't forget the sunscreen and reapply frequently, especially if the kids are getting wet. UV sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing can also help provide sun protection.
Kids should drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to prevent dehydration. It's easy to get dehydrated in the sun, especially when kids are active and sweating. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or nausea are just some of the signs of dehydration and overheating.
Now that you're well-educated on ways to stay safe while swimming, There are several pools, splash parks and aquatic centers for you to explore! Click below to learn more about aquatic facilities available within Des Moines and the surrounding communities:
City of Ankeny - Aquatic Centers & Splash Park information
Altoona Aquatic Park
Carlisle Aquatic Center
Clive Aquatic Center
Dallas Center - Lena Moser Memorial Swimming Pool
City of Des Moines - Wading Pools, Swimming Pools and Aquatic Centers information
Indianola Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center
Norwalk Aquatic Center
Urbandale Public Swimming Pool (indoor)
West Des Moines Aquatic Center (Valley View)
Stay cool this summer, and stay safe with UnityPoint Health!