With summer upon us, families are beating the heat by spending the day swimming and playing in the water. Unfortunately these activates can be deadly if safety precautions are not taken. The National Safety Council statistics point to drowning as a leading cause of death for young children. In 2013, there were 89 drowning-related deaths and an additional 37 people hospitalized for drowning-related injuries in Virginia alone!
Sterling Rescue and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue encourages residents to follow the water safety tips below and teach your kids about water safety before your next trip to the pool.
- Children should only swim when they have permission and being actively supervised at all times with no distractions – put that cellphone down!
- Teach children to obey the posted rules.
- Ensure pools and spas are fenced on all sides with a self-closing and latching gate.
- Drains in pools and spas should have anti-entrapment drain covers.
- Children using air-filled swimming aids should always be supervised by an adult within arm’s reach.
- A U.S. Coast guard approved lifejacket should be worn for water sports such as tubing, skiing or jet skiing. Air-filled aids such as inner tubes, water wings and inflatable rafts are not substitutes for approved lifejackets
- Swimmers should only use recreational items such as slides, diving boards, etc. in approved areas. Non-approved items such as tree swings, ropes and similar items should not be used due to potential unsafe conditions.
- Get trained in infant and child CPR and always have a phone near the pool for emergency use.
- Ask the lifeguard how deep the water is and stay out of water deeper than your swimming skills allow for.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Never jump or dive unless the lifeguard or an adult says it is okay to do so.
- Don’t eat candy or chew gum when swimming.
- Never swim at night.
- Get out of the water right away if you hear thunder or see lightning.
- When on a boat, everyone needs a seat and his or her own U.S. Coastguard approved lifejacket.
*Source: Virginia Department of Health https://www.virginia.gov/
Adapted from a Press Release from Loudoun County Fire and Rescue