The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the unofficial start of summer and with it comes the opening of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities.
For the first time this year, many people will be swimming, boating or having picnics near bodies of water. With it comes gathering of people, sometimes visitors from out-of-town who do not have a swimming pool at their home or it is the first time they have been boating.
Here are some water safety tips to remember during the holiday period:
- Remove toys and other items that are attractive to children from the pool area. Do not leave any toys in or near the water.
- Make sure that an adequate barrier is maintained around the pool. Remember that there are breaches that should not be overlooked, such as a doggie door which is often left open for pets to enter and leave the house.
- Many times there are a large number of friends and relatives at dinner, parties or other gatherings. If you have a pool, one person should be assigned to monitor the pool and surrounding area to keep a watch especially if children are playing outside.
- Look for other water sources that may cause an injury including fountains, hot tubs, buckets of water, and toilets inside the home. Take whatever precautions are needed to ensure children cannot have access to these water sources.
- If you take advantage of the warm weather to picnic or hike near water, make sure children are under adult supervision at all times.
- Any time children are near or in water (including watercraft such as boats) they should be wearing an approved flotation device.
Remember the three steps of Drowning Prevention:
- Patrol – Always designate an adult Water Watcher to actively watch children in the water, including pools, bathtubs, or other bodies of water.
- Protect – Install barriers between your home and pool to ensure safety including fences, door alarms, locks and spa safety covers. Lock doggie doors children can’t crawl through them.
- Prepare – Create a water safety plan for your family. Enroll children in swimming lessons, take adult CPR classes, and be sure to equip your pool with proper safety equipment including life jackets, personal floatation devices and rescue tools. If an emergency happens, have a telephone nearby to call 9-1-1.
In the event a child comes up missing, first check all water sources (such as the pool) first. If they are not found, then immediately check any parked vehicles nearby by opening all doors and the trunk area and search the interior completely. Both of these areas can be life threatening in just a few minutes to a child. The best thing for keeping children safe is constant adult supervision.