Even with the long, hard winter that we had in the Denton area, we knew that it was just a matter of time before it warmed up. Although summer officially begins this year on Saturday, June 21st, most are already enjoying outdoor activities. Many associate the beginning of summer with when the kids get out of school, which happens in late May or early June for most area schools. There are so many things to look forward to as summer begins – spending time with family and friends, summer camps, Six Flags, Rangers baseball, not having to wake up early… the list goes on and on.
Another activity that many kids and adults look forward to in the summer is the enjoyment of spending time in a swimming pool. There is nothing like the refreshing feeling of entering a swimming pool on a hot summer day. But we all must be aware of the potential danger that exists – and the importance of being careful to avoid such danger.
This month has been designated as National Water Safety Month. National Water Safety Month is a joint effort of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the American Red Cross, the National Recreation & Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association. These organizations represent businesses and other individuals and agencies involved in bringing safe, enjoyable aquatic activities to the American public, from home pools and spas, to waterparks and resorts, to public swimming and water recreation facilities. For more information on Water Safety Month, visit their website at nwsm.phta.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watersafetymonth.
Closer to home – Safe Kids of Tarrant County, led by Cook Children’s Hospital and the North Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance, wants everyone to “Play It Safer Around Water”! Parents should be aware that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children 5 years of age and younger. Drowning, which can happen in as little as one inch of water, is usually quick and silent. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, a child will lose consciousness two minutes after submersion, with irreversible brain damage within four to six minutes. Adding just one extra safety step around the water can reduce your risk. Following are some suggestions that can help prevent drowning:
- Drowning is a quick and silent killer.
- Backyard pools & spas need fences & alarms.
- Coast guard approved lifejackets save lives.
- Alcohol and water activities are a bad mix.
- Danger zones are not only pools & spas: they are also bathtubs, buckets, toilets, & lakes.
- Supervise with your Eyes. Always be a water watcher.
- Reach and throw – Don’t go!
- Remember: Summer sun, water fun, if trouble comes, call 911.
- Learn to swim at any age.
- Learn CPR for the family.
- Keep safety equipment nearby.
Another way that Safe Kids is trying to prevent drowning is by the distribution of Water Watcher tags. A Water Watcher Tag is used to designate responsible adults to watch the water when you have a party at the pool, lake, or beach. At social gatherings, 10-15 minute shifts are recommended for Water Watchers. During that time, Water Watchers should not be distracted by conversations, cell phones, reading, etc. They must keep their eyes scanning above and below the water’s surface. These Water Watcher tags, as well as drowning prevention rubber bracelets, are available for free at Gohlke Pools, courtesy of Safe Kids of Tarrant County, led by Cook Children’s Hospital and the North Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance. For more information on drowning prevention, including some short water safety videos, visit their website at www.cookchildrens.org/safety.
Swimming is an excellent activity that family and friends can enjoy together, but we must always have respect for the potential danger that exists.