No Shirt, No Shoes...No Problem!
At LPB, safety is our number one priority, including UV protection. While our indoor pools are UV ray free, it's important for parents to remember the basic guidelines of sun protection when swimming outside:
- Apply sunscreen 10-15 minutes BEFORE swimming:
I can't tell you how often I see parents show up at outdoor pools and proceed to spray their kids with sunscreen and send them straight in the pool. Not only is this a waste of money and bad for the pool chemistry, but it is also putting your child at risk of sunburn and UV damage.
How do you keep your kids from getting right in the pool? You apply the sunscreen at home, in the hotel room, or in the car before driving to the pool. The most effective way to do this is when your child is completely naked, but since that's not always possible, having them wear their swimsuit is next best.
-Reapply every 60 minutes:
I find that my kids get hungry, cold or tired within an hour of swimming anyway, so it's a good idea to call them out at least once an hour. Some pools have this built into their program with "adult swim" breaks. We think adult swim is a GREAT idea...it gives little swimmers the chance to use the toilet (please!), get a snack and re-apply sunscreen.
I usually have my kids get out, dry off and give them a snack. While they're eating, I use spray to reapply on their bodies and sunscreen sticks for their faces. . After they finish snack, we hit the potty and by then at least 10-15 minutes has gone by.
-Swim shirts rule! But please, not in our pool:
While swim shirts and rash guards offer the best protection agains harmful UV rays, they can have a negative affect a child's swimming abilities. Please be sure that these shirts are snug fitting, not loose. The looser they are, the more drag and resistance they create in the water, which can pull children down and cause them to sink. In fact, in safety training, one of the first things you're supposed to do if you fall off a water craft or pier fully dressed is to take off your shirt and shoes.
If your child normally swims without a swim shirt and you want her to wear a swim shirt outdoors, be sure to do some warm up swims so she can get a feel for what it's like swimming with the extra drag.
Another word of caution with swim shirts is that they can contribute to hypothermia. Wearing a wet shirt can increase the risk of hypothermia (http://www.adventuresportsonline.com/skihypo.htm). When your child gets out of the pool and his teeth are chattering, lips are turning blue or is slurring his speech, take off his swim shirt right away!
When swimming at LPB, we discourage swim shirts altogether. First of all, there are no harmful UV rays in our indoor facilities. Secondly, they can restrict students ability to swim by causing drag and increase resistance making it difficult for them to swim. Please...leave the swim shirts in your swim bag when swimming at LPB. They are not making your child warmer in our 90 degree water, and there's no need for UV protection indoors.
On the topic of drag caused by swim shirt:
Swim shorts have the same effect on boys swimming as rash guards. Long and baggy swim shorts or "board shorts" make it much more difficult for students to swim. We recommend "speedo" or "jammer" style swimsuits for boys. Need another reason? Speedos and jammers don't cause chaffing like shorts do!
Girls suits should also fit snuggly. Straps should be tight enough to pull up to the earlobes, but no more. ONE PIECE SWIM SUITS are most appropriate for swim lessons as they fit little bodies better than two piece swimsuits. Crossback or racer back style is preferred. This way our swimmers can concentrate more on swimming and less on their swimsuit falling off!
Curriculum and Marketing Manager
La Petite Baleen Swim Schools