Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Water Safety in Lakes and Pools
It is that time of the year when the temperatures are reaching 100+ degrees outside. This is the best time to find a place to swim and cool down with the family or friends. The Bryan Police Department wants you to be safe when you are out swimming or near the water. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Drowning is the 6th leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When it comes to swimming pools and lakes, drowning is a serious concern with children and even adults. Whether you own a pool or are visiting a lake or pool, educate yourself and take precautions to prevent injury or death. Here are some tips:
Swimming at a Lake:
- Remember: there are NO LIFEGAURDS when swimming at a lake.
- Know your limitations when it comes to swimming. If you are not a good swimmer, do not go out too far or don’t swim at all.
- Swim in a designated swim area. Although you can swim anywhere in a lake, a swim area has a sloping bank and buoys that tell you not to go too far. It also keeps boats and other water craft out of your area.
- Know the shore line where you swim. If it is not a designated swim area the banks can have sharp rocks and steep drop offs under water. Lakes can be 45 feet deep in some areas here locally.
- Wear the proper clothing while swimming. Wading out in the water in shoes and blue jeans can make it difficult to swim should the shore line drop off sharply.
- Swimming in a lake is not like a swimming pool. You cannot see anything once you go under water. That goes for the swimmer and for those watching the swimmers.
- Adding alcohol to a hot day at the lake and swimming is a bad idea. This can affect you decision making ability and lesson your regard for safety.
- Never, leave children unattended while around the water. Always have an adult supervising the children and within reach of them.
- Water shoes are a good idea in dark water. There can be sharp objects that can cut your feet.
- The best safety prevention for a child swimmer is to wear a life vest in the water.
Swimming in a Pool:
- If you have a pool or hot tub, it should be surrounded by 5 foot high fence on all sides with a locking gate. Studies estimate that fencing could prevent 50-90% of child drowning in residential pools.
- Do not leave toys in or around the pool area when you are not around. This could attract unsupervised kids. For extra protection consider a pool alarm (these can detect movement in the water such as a child falling in).
- Don’t rely on “water wings” or flotation devices for children who can’t swim. This gives a parent a false sense of security. Should they fall off the child may drown.
- Enroll your child in swimming lessons at the age of 4 years or later.
- Learn infant and child CPR. This is just as important as learning adult CPR.
- Check to see that the pool drain or intake has an anti entrapment cover on it. This turns off the pump if a child or objects gets sucked against it.
Remember, know your limitations and always SUPERVISE children in and around the water. Always call 911 in an emergency.
Officer Jon Agnew
Public Information Officer
Bryan Police Department
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