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Pool Safety

Summer Heat and Pool Safety

All over the country, this summer is showing up with some extreme weather. Parts of the country is seeing high heat while others are experiencing flooding. And summer has only begun.

Heat waves reaching record-setting temperatures will continue and many of us take to our home and community pools. July is particularly hot everywhere – making it the month where drowning, especially among children 1-4 years of age, increases. Don’t take unnecessary risks while you’re having fun at the water, whether a home pool, community, pool, lake or ocean.

When everyone is having fun, it’s easy to get distracted from watching what’s happening in the pool. It doesn’t take much time for a drowning to occur sometimes as few a half a minute or less. A Slate article, “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning,” reports that in 10 percent of drownings, adults were on scene, but had no idea someone was drowning. Keep in mind that signs of drowning are not always what we see in the movies:

– A person in trouble may not be able to call or yell for help.
– Frantic waving may look like someone having fun.
– Someone drowning may not be able to move from where they are.
– Keep eyes open for someone whose head is low in the water.

Instead, stay alert especially with children in or near the water. U.S. Navy and Coast Guard veteran and lifesaving expert, Mario Vittone, advises to watch for these signs:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over the forehead or eyes
  • Vertical position—not using legs
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Read his full article here.
When there’s a lively party going on, it may not be easy to see these signs, so it’s a good idea to designate someone specifically to watch the water fun.

SAFETY TIP: One important water safety tip is to teach your kids to swim. It’s not only just a fun activity, early swim education is a life skill. Check your local community pool for swim lessons. The American Red Cross offers online swim and water safety courses. Their site can also help you find a pool near you for swim classes for the entire family.