Be Water Safe This Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 23rd 2008, 12:09 pm
By: News On 6

The American Red Cross reports, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children 4 and younger and the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children younger than 14. For every child who drowns, four more are hospitalized for near-drowning. And kids aren't the only ones at risk.

Make your summer safer with these water safety tips from the American Red Cross.

General Water Safety and Boating Tips
• Learn to swim.
• Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability.
• Swim in supervised areas only.
• Obey all rules and posted signs.
• Watch out for the "dangerous too's" - too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
• Don't mix alcohol and swimming or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
• Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
• Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. Learn CPR to help during an emergency.
• Never leave a child unobserved around water. Your eyes must be on the child at all times.

Home Pool Safety
• Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless or cellular phone nearby so that you can call 911 in an emergency.
• Enclose backyard pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should remain locked and be protected with an alarm that sounds when the door is opened.
• Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over.
• Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. A pole, rope and personal flotation devices are recommended.
• Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
• Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
• If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.