Swimming Smart

PREVENTION TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE AROUND WATER

by Thomas Walters // April · May · June 2016

Spring means warm weather. And with the hotter temperatures comes the time for pools, beaches, boats, lakes – in other words, water activities. Before diving off that board into the deep end, read through these prevention tips to help keep you and your family safe in, on, or around the water.

PORTABLE POOLS

– Once the pool is set up, don’t walk away and leave your children unsupervised, even if they aren’t in it yet.
– Use an alarm on the door that leads to the pool (if fenced) or from the house to the pool.
– Notify people about the pool in your yard (such as neighbors, babysitters, visitors, etc.).
– Empty and put away portable pools after every use.
– For larger pools, put away access ladders when done for the day.

LARGER POOLS/SPAS

– Keep kids away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments (hair, bathing suit, body    parts, jewelry, pool toys, etc.).
– Use and maintain pool covers.
– Install self-latching, self-closing gates that are at least four feet high.
– Encourage the buddy system.

KEEP WATCH

– A lifeguard is not a guarantee that your child is being watched at all times, so it is important that you keep a close watch.
– Don’t get distracted.
– Don’t read a magazine or book.
– Don’t go out when sleepy.
– Have your phone nearby, but don’t use it while you’re supervising kids in water.

GENERAL TIPS

– When a child is missing, always check the water first.
– Learn CPR (infant/child and adult) so that you can help in an emergency.
– Teach children to swim (but don’t think this makes them drownproof), and learn to swim yourself if you don’t know how.
– Don’t rely only on flotation devices to keep kids safe in water.
– Don’t burden a sibling with watching the kids in the pool.
– Explain the differences between swimming in a pool versus open water (uneven bottom surfaces, undertow, sudden water temperature changes, other watercraft).
– When you have multiple capable adults around, create a system for watching the kids (for example, the person holding the “blue index card/the swim fin/the tennis ball” is responsible for supervising duties).
– Share safety instructions with anyone charged with supervising.
– Keep the right supplies nearby (such as life rings, reaching poles, and a cell phone to call emergency services) at all times.

These tips are not all-encompassing; there are many great resources offering water and safety tips and suggestions available (the tips provided here are from www.poolsafely.gov and www.safekids.org). One of the most important rules of all is to always be vigilant, aware, and prepared, ensuring a safe and fun water season for all.

Thomas Walters

Allstate agent and owner of Walters Insurance Agency, located at 3207 Rogers Rd. in Wake Forest.