Program Success April 2015 Magazine | Page 15

Enjoy and remember to be safe . Sources : www . nsc . org / news resources / Resources / Page / Watersafety . aspx www . redcross . org / prepare / disaster / water-safety / swim-safety
WATER SAFETY , A MATTER OF LIFE AND BREATH Dr . Charles Simmons , Pediatrician Manuel Sims , RPh , Medical Student
The State of Florida is known for its beautiful beaches , lakes , intercoastal waterways and the prize possession of most Floridians , the back yard pool . Now that the weather is entering the hot season most people will indulge in their most favorite watering spot by taking a swim or just relaxing . However , it ' s very important to know how to be safe while in and around the water . According to the National Safety Council , in 2010 , drowning claimed the lives of 3,600 people . Although all age groups are represented , children four years old and younger have the highest death rate due to drowning , representing more than 14 percent . Most drowning and near-drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub . This article has water and swimming safety tips recommended by the National Safety Council , the Red Cross and the American Academy of Pediatrics .
• Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well . Enroll in age appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses . The Red Cross and the YMCA offers such courses .
• Be aware of small bodies of water your child might encounter , such as bathtubs , toilets , fishponds , ditches , fountains ,
rain barrels , watering cans -- even the buckets you use when you wash the car . Drain tubs completely and empty containers of water when you ' re done using them . Also , keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning .
• If you have a pool , secure it with appropriate barriers . Many children drowning in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time .
• If your pool has a cover , remove it completely before swimming . Remember to never allow your child to walk on the pool cover . Water may have accumulated on it , making it as dangerous as the pool itself. Your child also could fall through and become trapped underneath . Also , do not use pool covers in place of an approved barrier ( four sided fence ).
• When using inflatable or portable pools , remember to empty them immediately after use . Store them upside down and out of children ' s reach .
• Be sure to eliminate distractions while children are in the water . Talking on the phone , working on the computer , and other tasks need to wait until children are out of the water .
• Never leave a child alone near water : on the beach , at a pool or in the bathtub and do not trust a child ' s life to another child . If you must leave , take your child with you .
• If you ' re visiting a public pool , keep an eye on your kids . Lifeguards aren ' t babysitters . Nevertheless , children should always swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards whether at the pool or the beach .
• Establish and enforce rules and safe behavior such as " no diving ," " stay away from drain covers ," " swim with a buddy ," and " walk please ."
• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U . S . Coast Guard- approved life jackets around water , but do not rely on life jackets alone .
• Keep a safety ring with a rope besides the pool at all times . If possible , have a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked .
• Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through secured fenced barriers to get the toys .
• Adults should not drink alcohol when they are swimming . It presents a danger for them as well as for any children they may be supervising .
• Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number .
• Learn CPR . Organizations such as the Red Cross and the YMCA offer such courses .
Enjoy and remember to be safe . Sources : www . nsc . org / news resources / Resources / Page / Watersafety . aspx www . redcross . org / prepare / disaster / water-safety / swim-safety
Charles Simmons Pediatrics Manuel Sims Water Safety Life Breath Jacksonville , Florida April 2015