Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everyone into the pool!

Photo courtesy
Summer officially began yesterday afternoon, which means children of all ages will be diving into the water over the next few months.  While swimming can be a fun way to cool off while the temperature climbs, it's important to make sure it's done safely.

Even if you don't have a full above- or in-ground pool, you may have a portable pool in your backyard for the kids to enjoy.  While the water in these plastic or inflatable pools may not be as deep as in an inground pool, a person can drown in just an inch of water.  A recent Nationwide Children's Hospital study found that a child dies every five days in a portable pool, almost always in their own backyard.

So what can be done to make sure make sure we're enjoying this summer pastime safely?  Our Shoshone Dentice shared some pool safety tips on the CW23's "Winging It! Buffalo Style" this morning.  By following a few simple rules, you can help prevent drownings regardless of where the water is:
  • Make water safety a priority.  Teach children to always ask permission to go near or in the water.  Ensure that everyone in the family learns how to swim well.  The Red Cross offers comprhensive learn-to-swim programs for children and adults--you can sign up to take a class here.
  • Prevent unsupervised access to water.  Empty and store smaller pools immediately after use.  If you have a larger portable pool, treat it like an above-ground pool.  Remover ladders and secure the safety cover when the pool is not use.  Install pool barriers such as fencing to keep children from wandering into the water accidentally.
  • Maintain constant supervision.  NEVER leave children unattended near water.  Always stay withing arms reach of young children, and avoid distractions when supervising children around the water.
  • Know what to do in an emergency.  Every second counts when it comes to preventing death or disability.  If a child is missing, check the water first.  Make sure the entire family is trained in CPR so they'll know what to do in case of an emergency.  Register for a Red Cross First Aid/CPR class here.
If you are lucky enough to own a pool, the Red Cross has an online safety course that teaches the fundamentals of creating and maintaining a safe environment.

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