By Tamas Mondovics
The beginning of the summer season and the warmer weather brings large numbers of people to the water; backyard pools, beaches, waterfronts and public aquatic facilities. Such swimming holes available for young and old to beat the heat, have fun, exercise and learn includes the local public pool, 206 College Street in downtown Mountain City TN. The facility is now offering swimming and water aerobics lessons and is operates daily under the watchful eyes of eight certified lifeguards.
To ensure that summer fun does not end in tragedy, officials across the country have focused on safety ahead of the season by designating last month as National Drowning Awareness month. Sadly annual drowning awareness events also signal an increase in drowning tragedies across the nation. As reported by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), drowning continues as the leading cause of unintentional death for children between ages 1-4.The agency reported that 10 drowning deaths per day occur in the USA with children ages 1 to 4 having the highest drowning rates. Most of the drowning occur in home swimming pools.
Of course, statistics are just that; numbers. They only alert and remind of the realities of life. Change comes not from numbers, but action or implementation of real solutions and prevention. One such tip for water safety is to “ALWAYS be aware of potential dangers in all environments, such as when visiting other homes, while on vacation, or at public/community pools. Survey the area for secure fencing, locked gates, covered pools and spas, and protected backyard ponds. Never leave your child in an environment with unprotected water hazards.”
Additional hands-on practical ways to ensure safety in the water include some fundamental forms of protection such as those listed in the call-out box:
Drowning prevention Safety Tips
1. Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
2. Designate a “Water Watcher” to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings.
3. The home should be isolated from the pool with a fence at least 60” tall, with
a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate should open away from the pool, and should never be propped open.
4. Doors and windows should be alarmed to alert adults when opened. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
5. Power-operated pool safety covers are the most convenient and efficient. Solar/floating pool covers are not safety devices.
6. Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer the phone, and can call for help if needed.
7. Learn CPR and rescue breathing.
8. Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd’s hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside.
9. Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
10. Never leave water in buckets or wading pools.
11. If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count.
12. Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use.
13. Don’t use floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys.
14. Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards, and emphasize the need for constant supervision.
15. Responsibilities of pool ownership include ensuring children in the home learn to swim, and that adults know CPR.
16. Do not consider children “drown proof” because they’ve had swimming lessons.
For more information on National, Drowning Prevention Awareness Month visit the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s (NDPA) at ndpa.org.