Safety Tips & Other Resources

Swimming Pools

The CDC offers the following safety tips for swimmers:

Check the pool!

  • Well maintained pools are less likely to spread germs. Injuries and drownings are less likely in pools that have trained staff and adequate safety equipment. Before you swim, you can check the pool yourself using the following checklist:
  • Check the pool’s latest inspection results.
  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible.
  • Check that the drain covers at the bottom appear to be secured and in good repair.
  • Use pool test strips to make sure the water’s pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct.
    • pH 7.2–7.8
    • free chlorine concentration of at least 3 ppm in hot tubs/spas and at least 1 ppm in other places with treated water
    • free bromine concentration of at least 4 ppm in hot tubs/spas and at least 3 ppm in other places with treated water
  • Check for a lifeguard
    • If on duty, a lifeguard should be focused on the swimmers and not distracted.
    • If no lifeguard is on duty, a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign should be posted.
  • If no lifeguard on duty, check to see where safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole, is available.
  • Make sure no chemicals are out in the open.

Check yourself! Keep the pee, poop, sweat, blood, and dirt out of the water.

  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
  • Stay out of the water if you have an open wound (for example, from surgery or a piercing) that is not covered with a waterproof bandage.
  • Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body. 

Protect yourself and others!

  • Protect against sunburn by using a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use well-fitting Coast Guard approved life jackets for flotation assistance rather than foam or air-filled toys.

Once you are in...

  • Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Keep an eye on children at all times, kids can drown in seconds and in silence.

Every hour, everyone out!

  • Take kids on bathroom breaks.
  • Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area–not poolside–to keep germs away from the pool.
  • Reapply sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming.


Hot Tubs

The CDC offers the following safety tips for hot tub users:

Heed hot tub rules for safe and healthy use.

  • Don’t enter a hot tub when you have diarrhea.
  • Don’t swallow hot tub water or even get it into your mouth.
  • Shower or bathe with soap before entering the hot tub.
  • Observe limits, if posted, on the maximum allowable number of bathers.
  • Don’t let children less than 5 years of age use hot tubs.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before entering the hot tub or during hot tub use.
  • If pregnant, consult a physician before hot tub use, particularly in the first trimester.

Observe and listen to the hot tub and its surroundings. What should you notice?

  • No odor; a well-chlorinated hot tub has little odor. A strong chemical smell indicates a maintenance problem.
  • Smooth hot tub sides; tiles should not be sticky or slippery.
  • Hot tub equipment is working; pumps and filtration systems make noise and you should hear them running.
  • Hot tub temperature; the water temperature should not exceed 104°F (40°C)
  • Check the hot tub water; test for adequate free chlorine (2–4 parts per million or ppm) or bromine (4–6 ppm) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels using hot tub test strips. 

Talk to hot tub owners/staff and other hot tub users.

  • What was the health inspector’s grade for the hot tub after its last inspection?
  • Are chlorine and pH levels checked at least twice per day?
  • Are these levels checked during times when the hot tub is most heavily used?
  • Are trained operation staff available during the weekends when the hot tub is most heavily used?
  • What specialized training did the staff take to prepare for working at or operating a hot tub?
  • Learn about RWIs and educate other users and your hot tub operator.
  • Urge your hot tub management to spread the word about RWIs to hot tub staff and users.


Other Resources:

Pools & Spas



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