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Water safety tips for the holiday weekend

By Staff | May 27, 2011

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, there will be many social gatherings and The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida wants to make sure families are water safe this summer.

“The Children’s Hospital sees many children over busy holiday weekends, so please take extra precautions when around water,” said Courtney Ranieri, Coordinator of the Kohl’s Center for Safety Program at The Children’s Hospital. “Kids drown quickly and quietly. A drowning child can’t cry or shout for help.”

The most important precaution is active supervision. There needs to be a designated adult who has the children in sight at all times with undivided attention.

When children are in or around water, adults should take turns serving as the designated “Water Watcher.”

To help keep children safe when they are in or around water, the Kohl’s Center for Safety and Safe Kids Lee/Collier Coalition recommends these precautions in addition to a designated Water Watcher:

• If you have a pool or spa, or if your child visits a home that has a pool or spa, there should be layers of protection between the home and the water including locks and alarms and it should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence at least five feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Studies estimate that this type of isolation fencing could prevent 50 to 90 percent of child drownings in residential pools.

• A pool or spa should be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover and a safety vacuum release system to prevent children from being caught in the suction of the drain.

• Don’t leave toys in or near the pool where they could attract unsupervised kids.

• Enroll your children in water safety and swimming lessons, but don’t assume swimming lessons make your child drown-proof.

• Learn water rescue skills and CPR; and keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers by the pool.

These guidelines apply to inflatable and portable pools as well. Children can drown in just an inch of water, so bathtubs, toilets and buckets of water also pose a threat when children are around them.

For more information about drowning and water safety, call the Kohl’s Center for Safety at 239-343-5224 or Safe Kids Lee/Collier Coalition at 239-343-6199. Safe Kids Lee/Collier Coalition works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Lee/Collier Coalition is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. You can visit their website at www.usa.safekids.org.