Although May is officially Water Safety Month, it’s something we should practice year-round. Check out these great water safety tips from the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and be sure to visit www.nationalwatersafetymonth.com for more great information and resources to keep your family safe and happy at home and on vacation.
• Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
• Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.
• Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
• Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.
• Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.
• Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures.
• Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.
• Keep a first aid kit at poolside.
• Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
• Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
• Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.
• Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.
• Never prop the gate to a pool area open.
• Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers, or other equipment to make a child “water safe.”
• Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.
• Don’t leave chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.
• Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble.
Here’s to a safe swimming season in 2011!