Healthy and Safe Swimming Communications Toolkit

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week banner

The information and materials below are meant to help public health professionals promote healthy and safe swimming messages on social media, websites, and other communication channels during Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (HSSW) and throughout the year. These resources are designed to raise awareness about the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from injury and illness when using your backyard pool.

Outreach Suggestions
All Audiences
Media
Operators of Public Aquatic Venues (Pools, Hot Tubs/Spas, and Water Playgrounds)
Pool Supply Stores
  • Recommend that stores display healthy and safe swimming promotion materials in their stores and on their websites.
  • Encourage stores to hold virtual pool-chemical safety seminars for owners of backyard pools.
Healthcare Providers
Community Leaders
  • Create fact sheets for community leaders (such as program administrators, boards of health, and elected officials) detailing specifics about your agency’s HSSW efforts.
Sample Social Media Posts and Graphics

Use these graphics and suggested posts to spread the word about healthy and safe swimming on your social media platforms.

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Graphics
Prevent Drowning
  • Parents: Watch kids closely when they are in or around your backyard pool. Drowning happens quickly and quietly, so avoid distracting activities like being on a smartphone. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
  • Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children less than 15 years old. Learn what you can do to protect children from drowning in your backyard pool. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
  • Help prevent access to your backyard pool when it’s not in use. Install fencing and use locks/alarms for windows and doors. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
  • Help keep swimmers safe in your backyard pool. Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
Prevent Drowning Graphics
Pool Chemical Safety
  • Using your backyard pool? Pool chemicals protect us from germs but can cause injuries if not handled safely. Check out CDC’s pool chemical safety tips. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xmkFdexternal icon
  • Using your backyard pool this summer? Remember to protect kids and pets by keeping pool chemicals out of reach. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9Haexternal icon
  • Backyard pool owners: Make sure you know how to safely use pool chemicals to help keep everyone safe and healthy this summer. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9HYexternal icon
  • Backyard pool owners: Order FREE chemical safety posters (one on safe storage, one on safe use) to learn how to help protect yourself, kids, and pets. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9H8external icon
Pool Chemical Safety Graphic
Recreational Water Illnesses
  • Diarrhea and swimming don’t mix. If you are sick with diarrhea, stay out of your backyard pool. It only takes one person having diarrhea in the water to contaminate the whole pool. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9suexternal icon
  • Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water to remove dirt and sweat from your body. When chlorine mixes with dirt and sweat, it creates chemicals that make swimmers’ eyes turn red and sting. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xmkFKexternal icon
  • Pee in the toilet, not in the pool! When people pee (or poop) in the pool, the chlorine mixes with it, using up the chlorine available to kill germs. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xvGNqexternal icon
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour. Change diapers away from the poolside to keep germs from getting in the water. #HSSW2020  https://go.usa.gov/xv9suexternal icon
Recreational Water Illnesses Graphics
Press Release Template

In preparation for Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, states or local communities can use content from this press release template to develop their own press release highlighting healthy and safe swimming messages. Use any of the data or tips from the chart to create your press release. This content is intended to be customized to best meet each state or local community’s priorities and needs.

For Release [date]

Contact: Name, title
Phone/e-mail

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2020

<City, State> — The week before Memorial Day (May 18–24) is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this year’s awareness week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming in backyard pools by minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Just 2 ½ hours of physical activity every week, including water-based physical activity, can benefit everyone’s health. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries related to the water we swim, play, relax in, and share—this summer and year-round.

This content is intended to be customized to best meet each state or local community’s priorities and needs.
Why Is This Important? A Few Simple but Effective Prevention Steps We Can All Take
Drowning

Each day, approximately two children less than 15 years old die from drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children 1–4 years old.

For more info, visit the Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts website.

Keep swimmers safe in the water
  • Make sure everyone has basic swim skills and water safety awareness.
  • Use U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jackets as directed.
  • Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
  • Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR.

Prevent access to water when pool is not in use

  • Install and maintain barriers, like 4-sided fencing.
  • Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.
Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals

Pool chemicals, like chlorine, are needed to protect swimmers’ health. However, mishandling pool chemicals can cause serious injuries. Pool chemical injuries lead to about 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year, and over one-third of these preventable injuries are in children or teens.

For more info, visit the Pool Chemical Safety website.

Backyard pool owners

Take the following steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:

  • Read and follow all directions on product labels.
  • Wear safety equipment—such as masks, gloves, and goggles—when handling chemicals.
  • Keep chemicals secure and away from children and pets.

Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions:

  • NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, particularly chlorine products and acid.
  • Pre-dissolve pool chemicals ONLY when directed by product label.
  • Add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.

Order FREE printed and laminated poster on safe storage and poster on safe use at the  CDC-INFO On Demand website.

Illnesses caused by the germs in pools and hot tubs/spas

During 2000–2014, nearly 500 outbreaks were linked to pools, hot tubs/spas, and water playgrounds. Most of the outbreaks were caused by the germs Cryptosporidium (or “Crypto”), Legionella, or Pseudomonas.

These germs can make swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of contaminated water. Although most germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels, Crypto is a germ that can survive in properly treated water for more than 7 days.

For more info, visit the Healthy Swimming website.

Backyard pool owners

Check the disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH at least twice per day (and more often when the pool is in heavy use).

  • Make sure disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH are correct.
    • 1–10 parts per million (ppm) free chlorine or 3–8 ppm bromine
    • pH 7.2–7.8

Everyone

Before getting in:

  • Don’t swim or let others swim if sick with diarrhea.
  • Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water to remove dirt or anything else on your body.
    • Chlorine mixed with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop creates chemicals that make swimmers’ eyes red and sting. When chlorine mixes with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop, there is less chlorine available to kill germs.

Once you are in:

  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour. Change diapers away from the poolside to keep germs from getting in the water.
  • Dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming.

Healthy swimming information

Communications Toolkits From Previous Years
Page last reviewed: May 15, 2020