Healthy and Safe Swimming Communications Toolkit

Healthy & Safe Swimming Week: May 23-29, 2022

The information and materials below can help public health professionals promote healthy and safe swimming messages on social media, websites, and other communication channels during Healthy and Safe Swimming Week and throughout the year. These resources can be used to raise awareness about the steps everyone can take to protect themselves and those they care about from injury and illness when swimming.

This year’s theme is Make a Healthy Splash: Stay Healthy and Safe in Splash Pads

Outreach Suggestions
All Audiences
  • Post web content related to splash pads on your organization’s website and share communication materials about healthy and safe swimming.
  • Consider syndicating CDC’s healthy swimming web content directly onto your website without having to maintain it. When CDC updates the syndicated content, your website will be updated as well. Your site’s colors, fonts, navigation, and other unique properties will be unaffected.
  • Use social media posts to spread the word about healthy swimming.
  • Disseminate healthy swimming messages and materials (for example, in email announcements).
  • Share CDC’s most up-to-date COVID-19 prevention guidance for public pools and beaches.
Media
Operators of Treated Aquatic Venues (Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds)
Beach Managers and Operators of Untreated Aquatic Venues
  • Share guidance on operating public beaches in accordance with CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Tell beach managers to:
    • Check out EPA’s online technical resources.
    • Sign up for the Great Lakes Commission email group—known as Beachnet—to communicate and network with other beach managers across the country.
    • Establish policies that allow employees to perform alternate duties that do not require entering the water if they have diarrhea or an open cut or wound that cannot be completely covered by a waterproof bandage.
Pool Supply Stores
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 Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 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.

Splash Pads
  • Splash pad jets can rinse germs found in poop off butts.
    • Don’t sit or stand on the jets.
    • Don’t swallow splash pad water.

    Swallowing the water with those germs can make you sick. Chlorine doesn’t kill germs instantly. Learn more: https://go.usa.gov/xzKtg #HealthySwimming

  • Don’t swallow splash pad water. Did you know that it can take chlorine minutes—and sometimes even days—to kill germs in splash pad water? Swallowing water with germs can cause diarrhea or vomiting. Learn more: https://go.usa.gov/xzKtg #HealthySwimming
  • Stay out of splash pads if you are sick with diarrhea. Jets can rinse germs found in poop off butts. Swallowing the water with those germs can make you sick. Chlorine doesn’t kill germs instantly.  Learn more:  https://go.usa.gov/xzKtg #HealthySwimming
  • Check diapers and take bathroom breaks every hour at splash pads. When pee and poop mix with the water, they use up chlorine needed to kill germs. Learn more: https://go.usa.gov/xzKtg #HealthySwimming
Swimming-related Illnesses
  • Follow CDC’s steps for healthy swimming to protect yourself and those you care about from illness at the pool and beach this summer. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZ
  • Pee in the toilet, not in the pool! When pee and chlorine mix in the pool, there is less chlorine available to kill germs. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xH8Wk
  • #DYK that chlorine doesn’t kill germs in pools right away? While it kills most germs within minutes, some germs can live in a properly chlorinated pool for days! Protect yourself. Don’t swallow water you swim or play in. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymt
  • Sweat and dirt on your body can use up chlorine needed to kill germs in the pool. Showering before you get in the pool keeps chlorine levels up to keep you and those you care about healthy! #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZ
  • Going for a swim with kids? Take a break every hour to use the bathroom or check diapers. Change diapers away from the water to keep germs from getting in. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZ
  • Diarrhea and swimming don’t mix! Follow CDC’s steps for healthy swimming to help protect yourself and those you care about from illness at the pool. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZ
  • Did you know swallowing even a small amount of water contaminated with diarrhea germs can make you sick for up to 3 weeks? Don’t swallow the water you swim in! #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymt
  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. One person with diarrhea can contaminate the entire pool. Learn more ways to keep you and those you care about healthy. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymt
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Graphics
Drowning Prevention
  • Watch kids closely when they are in or around the pool. Drowning happens quickly and quietly, so avoid distracting activities like being on a phone. https://go.usa.gov/xuTBf
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 4. Learn what you can do to protect children from drowning. https://go.usa.gov/xuTBf
  • Help prevent children from getting in your backyard pool unsupervised. Install fencing and use locks/alarms for windows and doors. https://go.usa.gov/xuTBf
  • Keep swimmers safe. Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR. https://go.usa.gov/xuTBf
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. https://go.usa.gov/xmkFd
  • Using your backyard pool this summer? Protect kids and pets by keeping pool chemicals out of reach. https://go.usa.gov/xuTZu
  • Backyard pool owners: Make sure you know how to safely use pool chemicals to help keep everyone safe and healthy this summer. https://go.usa.gov/xuTBc
  • Backyard pool owners: Order a FREE chemical safety use poster to learn how to safely use pool chemicals and protect yourself, kids, and pets from injury. https://go.usa.gov/xv9H8
Pool Chemical Safety Graphic
Press Release Template

In preparation for Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, local, state, territorial, and tribal 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. Communities can customize this content to best meet their priorities and needs.

For Release [date]

Contact: Name, title
Phone/email

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2022

<City, State> —The goal of Healthy and Safe Swimming Week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming and other water-based activities while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Each of us can play a role in preventing illnesses and injuries when we swim, play, and relax in the water—this summer and year-round.

This content is intended to be customized to best meet each state or local community’s priorities and needs.
What is the issue? What we can do

Illnesses caused by the germs in pools, hot tubs, splash pads

Germs in the water can make people 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, the germ Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) can survive in properly treated water for more than 7 days.

For more info, visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website, Steps for Healthy Swimming web page, and Splash Pads web page.

Take these steps every time you enjoy the water to keep yourself and others safe from germs.

DOs

  • DO stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea.
  • DO shower before getting in the water.
    • When chlorine mixes with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop, there is less chlorine available to kill germs.
  • DO take kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers every hour.
    • Change diapers away from the water to keep germs from getting in.
  • DO dry ears thoroughly with a towel when you get out of the water.

DON’Ts

  • DON’T swallow the water.
  • DON’T poop or pee in the water.
  • DON’T sit or stand on the jets at splash pads. Sitting or standing on jets can rinse poop off butts.

For more info, visit CDC’s Communication Materials and Steps for Healthy Swimming web pages.

Drowning

In the United States:

  • More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death, except birth defects.
  • For children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.
  • While children are at highest risk, anyone can drown.

For more info, visit CDC’s Drowning Facts web page.

Stay safe in and around the water:

  • Make sure everyone has basic swimming and water safety skills.
  • Use U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jackets as directed.
  • Designate a responsible adult to closely and constantly supervise swimmers.
  • Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR.

Keep backyard pools safe:

  • Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.
  • Install and maintain barriers that fully enclose the pool and separate it from the house, like four-sided fencing.
  • Use locks and alarms for windows and doors.

For more info, visit CDC’s Drowning Prevention web page.

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 CDC’s Pool Chemical Safety web page.

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.

You can order a FREE laminated poster on using pool chemicals safely from CDC.
You can also download and print CDC posters on storing and using pool chemicals safely.

Harmful Algae and Cyanobacterial Blooms

Algae and cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) can overgrow or bloom in warm, nutrient-rich water. Some of these blooms can harm people, animals, and the environment. These events are referred to as a harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms (HABs).

If harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms produce toxins, they can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, stomach pain, numbness, and dizziness. Symptoms vary depending on the type of toxin and the type of exposure, such as skin contact, eating contaminated food, swallowing contaminated water, or breathing in tiny contaminated droplets or mist.

For more info, visit the Harmful Algal Blooms website.

Avoid water that contains harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms—when in doubt, stay out!

  • Look for posted signs or other advisories from local public health authorities or beach managers. If the beach is closed or if there is guidance to avoid the water, stay out and keep your pets out!
  • Do not go into or play in water that:
    • Smells bad
    • Looks discolored
    • Has foam, scum, algal mats, or paint-like streaks on the surface
    • Has dead fish or other animals washed up on its shore or beach
  • Keep children and pets from playing in or drinking scummy water.
  • If you or your pets go in water that may have a bloom, rinse yourself and your pets immediately afterward with tap water. Do not let pets lick their fur until they have been rinsed. Pets may have harmful algae, cyanobacteria, or related toxins on their fur if they swim or play in water with a bloom.

For more info, visit CDC’s HABs: Protect Yourself and Pets web page.

Naegleria fowleri (“Brain-eating Ameba”)

Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic ameba (a single-celled living organism) that is commonly found in warm freshwater such as in lakes, rivers, and hot springs. If water containing the ameba goes up the nose, the ameba can invade and cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

For more info, visit CDC’s Naegleria fowleri website.

When swimming in freshwater, try to prevent water from going up your nose.

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. The only certain way to prevent an infection due to swimming is to stay out of warm freshwater. However, you can reduce your chance of getting an infection by limiting the amount of freshwater going up your nose.

To limit the amount of freshwater going up your nose:

  • Hold your nose or use nose clips when taking part in freshwater activities.
  • Avoid putting your head underwater in hot springs and other bodies of warm freshwater.
  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperatures.

For more info, visit CDC’s Naegleria fowleri: Swimming web page.

Page last reviewed: July 25, 2022