Commentary: May was National Water Safety Month

YMCA Aquatics Director Barbara Glaude.

YMCA Aquatics Director Barbara Glaude.

Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death for children between the ages of 1 and 14? Children under the age of one most often drown in home pools and were out of sight from one or both parents according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Adults must maintain constant supervision near any body of water. Any distraction can allow an accident to occur. U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejackets are important for inexperienced swimmers, however parents should be sure that they are being worn properly and that the lifejacket fits snugly to the child.

A lifejacket that is too large will not help a child in trouble. Active adult supervision is the most important way to ensure all children are safe in the water. This includes babysitters watching children around bodies of water as well. Babysitters should understand water safety and the need for constant supervision.

Adults should also discuss all pool rules with children when attending pool parties, fun swims at the local town pool or any open body of water. The number one rule no matter how old the children are is that no one goes into the water without adult supervision. No one swims alone. This is especially important with teens. Peer pressure is a huge factor in teen drowning with teens feeling untouchable.

When hosting a pool party please make sure that there are adults specifically assigned to watch the pool. Designated pool watchers keep all children safe. They should be actively watching the pool and not talking on their phone or sharing alcohol. Adults should take turns watching the pool, so that it does not become one person’s responsibility.

If a child appears to be missing- check all bodies of water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Be sure to call 9-1-1 if needed and always have rescue equipment available at the pool.

Adults who cannot swim should never jump in to save a child as they quickly may become a victim themselves. Reach or Throw Don’t Go! Four to six minutes without oxygen can result in permanent brain damage or death.

Have a safe summer and make sure children know how to swim. For more information check www.nationalwatersafetymonth.com for more information.

Teach your children how to swim and about water safety as early as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding swim lessons or water safety contact Barbara Glaude, Aquatic Director at 860-426-9553 or email her at  bglaude@sccymca.org

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