Do’s and Don’ts When Swimming in Indoor Pools

Written by Chloe Harwood

It is easy to understand why some people prefer an indoor pool.  A pool inside your home has the advantage of shade from the harsh sun and protection from falling debris and dirt.  During winter, indoor pools offer ideal conditions for swimming because the temperature of the water can be manually controlled. However, indoor pool safety is just as crucial as the one in an outdoor pool.

Here are some dos and don’ts to observe when swimming in indoor pools:

1. Do swim in an indoor pool with proper ventilation

Australian Olympic synchronised swimmer Catherine Garceau had trained at indoor pools for years. Now retired, Garceau revealed in an interview with CNN that she developed health problems because of chlorine exposure and has stayed away from pools altogether.

Indoor pools that do not have good ventilation such as low ceilings or the lack of windows, can lead to health concerns. If the smell of chlorine in the area is too strong, it means that chemicals are just recirculating in the building.

If you own an indoor pool at home, it’s important to keep the place regularly ventilated and humidified to avoid condensation issues. You have the responsibility to keep the air quality optimal, so that family members and friends who use the pool won’t get sick.

2. Do take breaks from swimming

Just because you’re out of the sun doesn’t mean that your skin is completely safe when swimming in indoor pools. The formulation of chlorine in these facilities is different and the water might cause skin irritation and dryness if you’ve been in it too much.

Take half-hour breaks from swimming if you plan to be in the pool area for the whole day. Always shower and rinse the pool water off when you get out and then do the same when you head back to the pool.

If you have kids with you, oversee their break times, especially bathroom breaks, and their need to shower. After swimming, don’t forget to apply moisturiser on your face and lotion on your body to prevent the skin from becoming dry.

3. Do know the water’s depth before diving

Indoor pools carry more pedestrian dangers because of the limitations in space, so it’s not surprising to find indoor pools to be a bit shallow compared to an outdoor pool.

Before you dive in the water, be aware of the pool’s depth so that you won’t risk hurting yourself. Also, observe basic etiquette when you’re in the pool area, such as not running or horsing around to minimise the chances of slipping on wet floor.  

4. Do clear out obstructions and hazards in the pool area

It’s not safe to leave swimming pool accessories, including pool toys lying around the area when they’re not in use, as these items might cause slips, trips, and other accidents. Adults should be aware of these hazards and clear out any items that don’t belong in the indoor pool, especially if there are young kids.

5. Do enjoy a makeshift indoor swimming pool with your kids

If you can’t go to a water park or hotel to soak in the water, why not create an instant indoor pool in your house using a kids inflatable pool? Set it up at the den, garage, bathroom (if it’s large enough), or backyard porch.  You can then enjoy the privacy of playing in the water with your kids. This might not be as spacious the ones in public places or an outdoor pool, but it will surely be a fun way to spend time with your family.

6. Don’t forget to designate an adult watcher

Whether you’re swimming in a private or public facility, always nominate an adult watcher among your friends and family. Although there are designated lifeguards at recreational centres who ensure the safety of all swimmers, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it only takes seconds for someone to drown. If you’re going swimming with a large group, always do a head count to ensure the safety of everyone.

7. Don’t swim in an indoor pool if there is a thunderstorm

There’s been looming debate about the safety of indoor pools during thunderstorms for decades. It’s apparently a myth that the site attracts lightning when the weather is bad, because there has never been a documented case of someone dying from such an incident.

However, many public indoor swimming pool facilities and aquatic recreational venues do make it a point to close their gates when there’s an active storm warning. In some cases, operators of these facilities also advise swimmers to get out of the pool as soon as possible when bad weather is approaching.

You won’t lose anything if you choose to avoid indoor pools until the storm passes. It will still be there anyway, and you can still enjoy the facilities during a fairer weather.

8. Don’t swim if you have recently experienced stomach issues

If you’ve just had diarrhoea or bouts of vomiting, it might be best to stay off water. It’s easy to ingest stomach bugs from the hotel pool which could worsen your condition, especially if the water hasn’t been properly treated.

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About the author

Chloe Harwood