National Water Safety Month
Spring is upon us and soon summer’s heat will draw kids of all ages to the water for many fun and refreshing ways to celebrate the season! Whether boating, swimming, or flying down a Slip N’ Slide, we should all keep in mind the ways to stay safe in and around water. May is National Water Safety Month and a perfect time for all of us to learn and review ways we can be safe in and around water.
As part of our Community Engagement programs, we support ongoing education about water safety including “Pool and Water Safety” coloring books we distribute at events and acting as a sponsor for Siskey YMCA and their 50K for 50K program. Not only does the Y offer swim lessons for all ages and swim assessments, but their dedication to water safety continues through efforts like 50K for 50K, a program started by Siskey YMCA Executive Director, Rich Gallagher. He dedicated himself to run 50K, a 31-mile race, in October 2015 to help raise $50K for 500 children to receive swim lessons and water safety education! We are proud to support a program that works to educate about the danger of drowning and to provide free and discounted swim lessons; both ensuring a decrease in drowning deaths among children.
For more information on why this effort is so important and how you can contribute to help a child by providing swim lessons, visit http://bit.ly/1rt3sov
In addition, the Y offers other water safety resources: http://bit.ly/1TuFSP3 & http://bit.ly/1QT0w9D
You can find a sample image of our coloring book here:
There are also many additional resources for parents online, including the very helpful tips from the American Red Cross below. Please take time to review these tips with your children and explain why water safety is so important. Not only will following these tips ease your mind, but they can also be a great way for kids to learn responsibility and make swimming and other water activities even more fun!
Make Water Safety Your Priority
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of waterincluding ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water
- Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
- Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
- If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
- Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
- Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
Maintain Constant Supervision
- Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
- Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- Know What to Do in an Emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.