by Rob Cox, July 3, 2010
Have a Happy -and- Safe July 4th Holiday
For most people I know, whether spending the holiday weekend at the beach or down by the river, or making a trip to the community pool, or enjoying their own backyard pool, the Independence Day holiday will involve hot days and cool water.
Many of our customers have been planning their pool parties for weeks, getting the pool ready for the big day. Take some time to do a Pool Safety Scan, and plan on proper, effective supervision of the swimmers.
If your holiday will be spent near, in or on the water - have a great time, and remember these water safety rules.
1. Have Adult Supervision at all times:
What Makes Good Adult Supervision?
What Makes Poor Adult Supervision?
2. Establish a buddy system with young swimmers
Not as a substitute to adult supervision, but as watchers of each other. Tell young children to "Swim Buddies - if one of you puts your head under water, the other should look under the water to make sure they are not under water for too long" This assumes that they are wearing masks or goggles. Young children can also help enforce pool rules for the adult supervisor. "Make sure your Swim Buddy is following all of the pool rules no diving, no running, no dunking, no horseplay.... - you watch him, and you watch her, OK?" "And most importantly, you Never swim without your Swim Buddy and me!...OK?"
3. Use a pool safety line
The safety line helps to separate the deep from the shallow area, at the beginning of the slope of an inground pool. Rarely are they used anymore unfortunately, but can be very helpful during a crowded pool party. Many unfortunate drownings occur when a poor swimmer (even adults) get into water deeper than they can stand.
Keeping other pool rescue equipment nearby can also be a life-saver. Reaching poles, ring buoys, and of course, an emergency phone.
4. Non-swimmers should wear floatation devices
US Coast Guard approved devices are considered best. Inflatable vinyl water wings are likely the worst. For beginning swimmers, look at some of the padded swim suits with built in floation pieces sewn in. A very popular new item by Stearns, is the Puddle Jumper. Shown at right.
USCG approved swim vests, similar to water skiing vests are also popular for the beginning swimmer. Make sure to take the time to put the vest or suit on properly, some have several straps and clips and watch that the child does not remove the vest, from discomfort or over confidence.
5. When not using the pool, secure all points of entry
The safest fence is at least 4' high, non climbable, and completely surrounds the pool. Pool Gates are supposed to be self-closing and self-latching. If your pool fence uses the house as it's fourth side, then you have additional precautions to take. Sliding glass doors, French doors, Garage door ... whatever door you have leading to the pool can and should be made safer with the use of door alarms. In addition, use Self-Closing and Latching mechanisms to keep curious children from entered an unsupervised swimming pool.
Pools are supposed to be Fun! So get out there and have a Happy and Safe July 4th Holiday.
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