Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Water Safety - Stop The Drownings

After 2 drownings this year, lets talk about water safety.

WebMD has a good first step with these safety tips:

1. Whenever young children are swimming, playing, or bathing in water, make sure an adult is constantly watching them. By definition this means that the supervising adult should not read, play cards, talk on the phone, mow the lawn, or do any other distracting activity while watching children.
2. Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Teach children to always swim with a buddy.
3. Keep small children away from buckets containing liquid: 5-gallon industrial containers are a particular danger. Be sure to empty buckets when household chores are done.
4. Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming, boating, or water skiing. Never drink alcohol while supervising children. Teach teenagers about the danger of drinking alcohol and swimming, boating, or water skiing.
5. To prevent choking, never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving, or playing in
6. Learn to swim. Enroll yourself and/or your children aged 4 and older in swimming classes. Swimming classes are not recommended for children under age 4.
7. Learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary resusitation). This is particularly important for pool owners and individuals who regularly participate in water recreation.
8. Do NOT use air-filled swimming aids (such as "water wings") in place of life jackets or life preservers with children. These can give parents and children a false sense of security and increase the risk of drowning.
9. Check the water depth before entering. The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping.

Specifically tips 1&2 and 6 have been factors in the last two drownings.

The city website documents that swimming is not allowed at Old Mill Park. It also states that no one should enter the water without a coast gaurd approved personal floatation device (life vest).

Now, onto what you can do. I'm a strong advocate of teaching children to swim asap.

According to Parents Fredericksburg, contact the following for lessons:
Dixon Pool: 310-0665
Little Fish Swimming (taught at Regency Park): 540-645-0954
Regency Park Sports: 786-8688
SwimKids at Central Park Sport&Health: 446-KIDS.
Tsunami Swimming: 540-371-4369
YMCA pools: both locations, 371-9622
Woodlands Pool: 658-4241
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 4 years for beginning lessons, based on a study showing that whether beginning at ages 2-4, they became proficient at 5 1/2. This article also points out that this doesn't mean you can't start working with children in a pool before that age. I can attest to my brother starting out at a very young age. We both spent a lot of time in a pool which has saved my butt several times.

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