Many Black swim parents worry that if their child swims in in-door pools during the winter, as year-round swim clubs do, they will get sick. However, the coaching and consistent training provided by a year-round swim club is necessary for young swimmers who want to remain, or become, competitive. So what can swim parents do to support their child’s love of the sport while still protecting their health?
Black Kids Swim asked veteran swim moms and dads from the Black Kids Swim community for their advice on how to keep kids healthy while swimming during the winter – we weren’t disappointed. Beth believes braided or cornrow hairstyles for girls makes hair care simple and quick, but it is important to wash out all chlorine with shampoo every time your child swims. Frances recommended starting with a good swim cap to make sure their hair does not get completely wet during swim practice. Alex protects his kids from swimmers ear by putting a few drops of alcohol in each ear while they change out of their wet swim suits.
While it’s common for kids to be in a rush to get home for dinner after a grueling practice, that is not a good idea during the winter months. Make sure your child removes their wet swim suit and dresses in dry clothing (Keith recommended sweat suits) before exiting the locker room. A hat, coat and closed toe shoes are important – even for the short walk to the car. One swim mom recommended a ‘step down’ method to ensure your child is completely dry before walking out into the cold. Instead of leaving the pool right away, have your child work on homework inside for 30 minutes prior to exiting the building.
Swim mom Mikki is a physician and told us that there is “absolutely no correlation between wet hair and increased risk of infection.” She emphasized the importance of basic hygiene like hand washing, not sharing drinks with teammates, and getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis. A tablespoon of cod liver oil every day is also highly recommended for building strong immune systems. Overwhelmingly, our swim parents said that SWIMMING regularly for vigorous exercise is the best thing to keep your kid healthy.
Stay warm and keep swimming!