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Why you should stop, look and listen before jumping in the pool

A checklist can keep swimmers safer and the pool cleaner across the board. Every year, people across the nation, from San Diego to Boston, get hurt swimming, pools get damaged and other consequences occur because of a lack of preparation. Just like gearing up for any other fun-in-the-sun activity, you'll need to do a few things prior to getting started. Here are some steps to incorporate into your pre-pool routine.

Watch the forecast
Before you put in the effort to get ready for a swim, be sure you check the local weather for the day. Although the sky may seem clear and blue – a storm could move in quickly. Lightning is unpredictable, stated the National Lightning Safety Institute. Bob Swanson of USA Today said that more fatalities happen by lightening that moves across the ground rather than a direct hit. This means that even if lightning doesn't strike the pool, it can still hit the people in the water.

If there's a chance of a storm, you may want to reconsider your pool time for a later date. But if you decide to go through with it, then you should designate a specific person to watch over the pool area and keep an eye on the weather, suggested the NLSI. Swimmers should refrain from getting in the water for at least 30 minutes if they hear thunder or see lightning. Once you've determined the forecast for the day, be sure you have everything you need before getting in the pool. 

Check yourself
Before you leave the house, ask yourself if you're ready to ensure water safety. When gearing up for outdoor fun, be sure you're wearing sunscreen – it can greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer that's caused by the sun's UV rays. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to life-threatening cancer, the sun can be harmful to people in other ways. The EPA explained that overexposure to the sun can lead to blindness or cataracts. Although these issues are treatable, they're quite expensive. The source highlighted that Americans spend billions of dollars each year to treat these problems. To prevent eye decay, people should put on sunglasses before heading outdoors – be sure to buy ones that offer between 99 and 100 percent UV protection.

Look at the water
You're almost there – but before you run and jump in, examine the condition of the pool. Pool water that's off color could mean that it's dangerous to swim there. It tends to change when the chemicals are unbalanced. Too much chlorine can irritate the skin and eyes. Not enough can pose a threat to people because there could be more bacteria in the water, which could make swimmers sick.

When the water isn't clean, people can contract recreational waterborne illnesses. They're transmitted from swimmer-to-swimmer, aerosol from the pool's surface. They can make a person experience gastrointestinal, ear, respiratory and skin infections. Looking at the water can stop swimmers from getting ill.

These few steps may seem obvious, by how many times have you seen someone make a run and jump without giving preparation a second thought? Being cognizant of your surroundings, self and pool can decrease the chance of a disaster.