Keeping Water Sports Fun and Safe

Keeping Water Sports Fun and Safe

Water, water everywhere! The I.E. has a bevy of sparkling public pools and splash pads. Within an hour, you can be on the lake or at a great beach or water park. Water is a big part of family fun here and water safety should be, too. 

With temperatures soaring, it is important to stay vigilant around children and adults alike while enjoying activities involving bathing and swimming at a pool, river, lake or beach. For children younger than five, drowning is a leading cause of injury, or lifelong disability. And it is the leading cause of accidental death. 

Careful vigilance can prevent tragedy and knowing how to prevent drowning is a critical step in keeping children safe. 

• Keep constant eyes on young children playing in or near any body of water, public pool, spa, or bathtub. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer a text message. Babies and toddlers have drowned in items as seemingly harmless as shallow buckets of water when left briefly unattended. 

• Never leave a child alone near water while you answer the telephone or doorbell, attend to another child or turn to household chores, even for a few seconds. 

• Designate an adult to watch children at play at large gatherings. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends staying close enough to reach out and touch the child while being supervised in water. 

• Fence your pool on all four sides with a barrier that is at least five feet high. Move lawn chairs, tables and other potential climbing aids away from the fence to help keep out children. Any gate or door leading to the pool area should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, with the latch placed on the poolside and out of reach. 

• All children should wear life vests (personal flotation devices approved by the U.S. Coast Guard; Swimming aids such as blow-up “water wings” are not approved. 

• Swimming lessons do not ensure safety. A child who falls into water unexpectedly may panic and forget his or her swimming skills. Adults who serve as caretakers for children who swim should know how to swim themselves, and also be certified to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an emergency. Immediate CPR could prevent death or brain damage. 

For more information, go to Drowning Prevention Foundation (www.drowningpreventionfoundation. org).

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