Summer Safety - In the Water

For most people 'summer fun' means a trip to the water.  But remember, water is also the second leading cause of death for kids under the age of five and 69 % of those drownings happened when a parent was nearby. To help you and your family stay safe this summer we're offering you a few safety tips to consider.

Mary Brocious, a swimming expert with the YMCA says, "Never go swimming by yourself. Even if you are an experienced swimmer.   You could be in a pool and look to the side and hit the wall. If your are unconscious, no matter how good you are conscious, you are at a real disadvantage -- so make sure that you always swim with someone."

Mary also says to teach your kids this catchy phrase,"Reach, throw, and go!," in case they see someone in trouble.  First try to lay down and reach out to the person.  If that's not possible, throw them something like a water noodle or one of the floatation devices they have around the pool.  But, especially stress with young children and non-swimmers "Don't go into the water.  Go get help!"

Mary adds another tip,"Don't assume anything."  For example, don't assume because you smell chlorine the pool is safe. Look to see if you can see the bottom of the pool.  "If you can't see the bottom of the pool, then I wouldn't let you or anyone else go swimming in it," reminds Mary.

Also, don't assume that they know this is the deep and and this is the shallow end. Get in and say, " See even mommy can't stand up here. Yes I can easily walk in this end. Walk them around."

If you are not the best swimmer around or you have young children there are a lot of things you can buy to make your pool a safer place.  Things like 'buoywear' which is an all in one swim suit and flotation device.  When you zip your child in, they are ready for the water."

Joan English of English Pools suggests a variety of options for water safety. "We have life rings that can be used with someone who is not underneath the water. The Coast Guard approved the small one that can be used for a small child. A shepherd's hook can be attached to a long hook and a child can be drawn in without any effort," notes Joan.

There is even something called a 'poolguard' that will sound a loud alarm if a child, dog, or anything else breaks the surface of the water.

So go ahead., dive in and have fun.  But remember, unless you're an expert - Don't dive into less than 12 feet of water and NO ONE should ever dive into unknown waters where what is underneath the surface has not been explored.  You do not know for sure what is under the water, unless you've checked it out.

One more thing to remember is that except for life vests most of the things you buy are only instructional floatation devices.  They are meant to help you teach a person to swim, not to leave them in the water on their own.