How Long Is It Safe for Kids & Adults to Stay in a Public Pool?

Spending the day at an open swim in San Diego, CA, with your kids is one of the most fun activities you can do as a family. And as we all know, time passes fast when you’re enjoying yourself! Before you know it, you’ve been in the water for hours and the skin on your hands and feet has gotten all wrinkly. 

Should you be concerned? Can spending an afternoon in a quality pool have negative effects on your or your loved ones’ health? Should you limit the time your kids spend in the water? Can spending more time in the pool facilitate the spread of waterborne disease

In previous articles, we gave you a list of swimming pool safety tips, and told you what you should and should not do at a public pool. Now we’ll answer some common questions about what happens to a person’s body when they spend a lot of time in a pool. Keep reading to learn more.

How long should you stay in a swimming pool?

There’s no such thing as a medical limit on how much time a person can safely stay in water. However, there are certain factors that may affect your overall experience in the pool

Consider the following: 

Heat loss

We lose body heat at a rate that’s 4 times faster in water than in air. The colder the water is, the faster you’ll lose heat. If the water is extremely cold, it may actually cause most of your blood to go back into the torso. This may deprive your limbs of oxygen and make using them more difficult. 

Luckily, state-of-the-art public pools use heating systems that maintain optimal water temperatures (around 82 degrees fahrenheit) at all times. 


Just because you or your children are in the water doesn’t mean you can’t get thirsty or tired. Although the risk of heat exhaustion is much lower in swimming than it is in other youth sports, you should still make sure your kids stay hydrated while in the pool. 


Being in the water will partially protect your skin from the Sun’s harmful rays. However, the key word here is “partially”. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a pool, you’ll need to make sure both you and your children are wearing sunscreen. 

What happens if you stay in a pool for too long?

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no reason to worry about the wrinkly skin that appears on your feet and hands after you spend a lot of time in the water. This is actually your body’s way of increasing skin traction. In other words, by becoming wrinkly, your skin makes it easier for you to swim, grip slick things, and walk in shallow water. 

If the chemical balance in the water is at optimal levels, you can spend as much time in it as you want. Eventually, you’ll start getting tired and cold, which will prompt you to leave the pool. 

What happens if you stay in a pool for too long

Where can I find a first-rate open swim in San Diego, CA?

Located near the Bonita Cove, The Plunge is a historic public pool in San Diego that was first built in 1925. In addition to containing both open swim and lap pool areas, the facility features a variety of other services, including a gym, sauna, water aerobics programs, one-on-one swimming lessons, and more.

Our operational schedule is Monday-Thursday from 6:30am to 6:30pm, and Friday-Sunday from 8:30am to 6:30pm. Give us a call today if you have further questions or if you’d learn more about the pool rental options we offer. 

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