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Pool & Water Safety
With the onset of the beautiful, warm, Florida weather, people are heading outdoors for fun filled activities. Each year, nationally, more than 1,000 children, ages 14 and younger, drown. Children ages 4 and younger represent almost 60% of these deaths. For every child that drowns, an additional 4 are hospitalized for near-drowning. According to the National Injury Prevention Center, 15% of children admitted for near-drowning, die in the hospital.
It’s important to ensure everyone follows these simple safety steps to stay safer in and around pools and spas:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water and never swim alone. Always watch children when they’re in or near water, and never leave them unattended. Designate an official Water Watcher, an adult tasked with supervising children in the water. That should be their only task – they shouldn’t be reading, texting or playing games on their phone. Have a phone close by at all times in case you need to call for help, and if a child is missing, check the pool first. Even if a lifeguard is present, parents and caregivers should still take the responsibility of being a designated Water Watcher. When any lifeguard chair is empty, the remaining lifeguards may not be able to see the entire pool and when lifeguards are seated in low chairs, their view can be blocked by patrons in the pool.
- Teach children how to swim. Swimming is not only fun, it’s a lifesaving skill. Enroll children in swimming lessons; there are many free or reduced-cost options available from your local YMCA, USA Swimming chapter or Parks and Recreation Department.
- Teach children to stay away from drains. Do not play or swim near drains or suction outlets, especially in spas and shallow pools, and never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken or missing drain cover. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. When using a spa, be sure to locate the emergency vacuum shutoff before getting in the water.
- Ensure all pools and spas-both in your backyard and any public pool you may visit-have compliant drain covers. Virginia Graeme Baker, after whom the Pool and Spa Safety Act is named, died from drowning due to a suction entrapment from a faulty drain cover. All public pools and spas must have drain grates or covers that meet safety standards to avoid incidents like the one that took Graeme’s life. Powerful suction from a pool or spa drain can even trap an adult.
- Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa. Proper fences, barriers, alarms and covers can be lifesaving devices. A fence of at least four feet in height should surround the pool or spa on all sides and should not be climbable for children. The water should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate. Teach children to never try to climb over the gate or fence. Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and keep pool and spa covers in working order.
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults. Often, bystanders are the first to aid a drowning victim, so learning CPR can help save a life. And once you’re CPR certified, make sure to keep your certification current. CPR classes are available through many hospitals, community centers, or by contacting the American Red Cross.
- Take the Pledge! Before heading to the pool or spa with your family, remember to take the Pool Safely Pledge. This online call to action is a reminder to stay safer around the water.
Visit PoolSafely.gov for more pool & water safety tips!!!
Be prepared with a boat safety kit and exercise good judgment:
You can’t always predict an emergency, so be prepared for any situation. Your boat safety kit should be kept on board no matter the size of your boat. Below are some essential items your safety kit should include and some tips on how to stay safe:
- Duct tape – Spring a leak? Temporarily bandage the hole with duct tape.
- Bucket – Even if the boat isn’t leaking, water may otherwise enter the vessel. A bucket can help you bail it out.
- First aid kit
- Whistle – As a recognized signal calling for help on the water, a waterproof whistle is another must-have.
- Ropes – These are critical for pulling someone in who has fallen overboard, securing your craft to the dock and tying down loose items in extreme weather.
- Mirror – A mirror or any reflective object can signal for help.
- Garbage bags – Use them as rain ponchos and protection for items on board.
- Fire extinguisher – All passengers should know the location of your fire extinguisher and how to use it.
- Life jackets – You should have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for every person on board.
- Don’t forget SUNSCREEN
- Check the weather before hand
- Don’t drink and drive a boat; alcohol affects judgment, vision balance and coordination.