If you haven’t packed away your spring jackets and cozy-weather sweaters just yet, it may seem a little early to be thinking about water safety and pool safety. But it’s heating up out there, and believe us, visions of summer vacation and leisurely poolside, lakeside, or oceanside afternoons are dancing in the minds of kids, parents, and teachers all across the country.
May is National Water Safety Month! Whether you have a backyard pool, a membership to a local club, a secluded lakeside hideaway, or a favorite South Jersey beach, now is the perfect time to brainstorm a few ways we can stay safe this summer.
Why is Water Safety Important?
Before you take that first plunge into the deep end or dive of the dock, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the importance of water and pool safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. In fact, drowning kills more children 1 to 4 than anything else except birth defects.”
In a ten-year period from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 drowning deaths in the United States each year. That’s more than 10 deaths per day!
We’re not in the business of scaring the good times away. However, in keeping with LARGO’s mission, we want to make sure that everyone stays safe this glorious summer!
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Kids Know How to Swim!
If you’re not 100% confident in your child’s swimming abilities, there’s no better time than National Water Safety Month to enroll your child in swim lessons. Here’s a statistic we can get behind: the CDC estimates that the risk of drowning is decreased by nearly 90% when young children take swimming lessons.
Tip #2: Become A Lifesaver
Naturally, grown-ups and teens can benefit from advanced swimming lessons, First Aid classes, CPR certification, or lifeguarding classes. Check out local Parks & Recreation schedules, nearby aquatic clubs, your community YMCA, or visit the Red Cross website to find opportunities to hone your skills.
Tip #3: Invest in Personal Flotation Devices and Life Saving Equipment
If you have a pool or a boat — or if your child is going to be spending a lot of time with neighbors or loved ones who do — you need personal flotation devices and life-saving equipment. We recommend that all non-swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device—even in the shallow end! Sure, duckie floaties are super cute and noodles are tons of water-smacking fun, but they’re not designed to prevent drowning.
Tip #4: Know the Signs of Drowning and Secondary Drowning
Despite what we’ve come to expect from every splashy Hollywood movie ever released, a person who is drowning probably won’t wave their hands in the air and cry clearly and audibly for help. Think about it: they’ll probably be too busy trying to breathe and stay afloat to use that precious oxygen for shouting.
More often than not, death by drowning is silent, so keep be vigilant at all times.
Drowning Warning Signs
If someone has gone silent and still in the water, check in and ask them to respond verbally. If the person is unable to respond, or their expression is blank, get them out of the water immediately!
Symptoms of Dry (or Secondary) Drowning
Dry drowning or secondary drowning is also a very real, if lesser-known, danger. The American Osteopathic Association writes: “Dry and secondary drowning can occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth. In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Unlike dry drowning, delayed or secondary drowning occurs when swimmers have taken water into their lungs. The water builds up over time, eventually causing breathing difficulties.”
Tip #5: Designate a “Lifeguard”
If you’re hosting a pool party or you’re spending a week on a beach without lifeguards, hiring a lifeguard may seem equal parts excessive and over-cautious. However, it may be an expense worth considering.
First Aid and poolside CPR-certified lifeguards typically earn $10-15 an hour and are worth every penny in peace of mind. If hiring a lifeguard is outside your budget, be sure to select a strong, sober swimmer — preferably someone who is also CPR or First Aid certified — as your designated watcher.
Tip # 6: Pick a Swim Buddy!
Younger kids should always have a swim buddy! Make sure your young swimmers can identify their swimming buddy and encourage clear communication. Even with the buddy system in place, never leave children unattended in the water.
Tip # 7: Safety First!
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, be sure to check your local ordinances to make sure that your pool enclosure is in compliance with local regulations. Always securely lock your pool area when you’re not using it. And finally, make sure that your guests have access to a phone (preferably a water-resistant one) at all times in the case of an emergency.
Tip #8: Put Your Toys Away
After a long afternoon in the sun, it’s tempting to walk away in search of a snack or an icy beverage, leaving all your toys behind. When you’re done for the day, it’s important to pick up any toys that may lure unsupervised children to the pool or beach area.
Tip #9: Jump On In! (Feet-First, of Course!)
Diving headfirst into a swimming pool can result in serious injury or death. Teach children how to jump into a pool feet-first and away from the pool’s concrete edge. Cannonballs are always encouraged!
Like what you’ve read? Check out our Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Important Summer Camp Safety Questions You Should Ask post.
Here’s to happy, safe, and wet summer from all of us here at LARGO Consulting Services, LLC.
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC is committed to providing safe and secure environments where you live, work, study, and play. For more information about our physical security services, security consulting, business services, LARGO Safe Schools, or our marketing, social media, and branding services for security professionals, please contact LARGO Consulting Services, LLC online or call 833-LARGOCS. We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.