Although summer officially begins June 20, for most of us it has already begun. I have always considered summer beginning when the kids get out of school, which happened this week 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 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.
Parents should be aware that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children 5 years old 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.
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!”Adding just one extra safety step around the water can reduce your risk. The following are some suggestions that can help prevent drowning:
• Drowning is a quick and silent killer.
• Backyard pools and spas need fences and alarms.
• Coast Guard-approved lifejackets save lives.
• Alcohol and water activities are a bad mix.
• Danger zones are not only pools and spas: they are also bathtubs, buckets, toilets and 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. The 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, cellphones, 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.
For more information on drowning prevention, including some short, water safety videos, visit www.cookchildrens.org/safety .
MATT GOHLKE, certified building professional, is the owner of Gohlke Pools and a member of the National Spa & Pool Institute, Aquatech (a society of pool building professionals), Better Business Bureau and an authorized dealer of Bioguard and Baquacil. His firm has received many national awards, certifications and recognitions in the swimming pool industry. He may be reached 940-387-7521.