With students home from school for summer vacation and staycations becoming more and more common among working individuals, the beach and swimming pools are very popular places when the weather heats up. Drowning and near-drowning incidents can happen any time of the year, but they are especially common during the busy summer months. This should serve as a reminder to caregivers to always remember to use the following ABCD’s of water safety.
A – Adult supervision
Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should supervise within an arm’s length of the children.
In addition to parental supervision, designate an adult water watcher using a distinguishable item such as a lanyard or funny hat. This person’s sole responsibility is to watch the pool area for 15 minutes. They should not read, talk on the phone, surf the Web, or be influenced by other distractions during their shift.
After 15 minutes, give the ID item to another adult for 15 minutes, and so forth. Ensure that the water watcher is a sober adult who knows CPR and has basic swimming skills.
Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Water wings, floaties, inflatable water rings and other pool toys are NOT safety devices. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are designed and tested for safety
B – Barriers, beach safety and boating safety
Have a properly working physical barrier around, on or in the pool that meets code requirements.
Install window and door alarms that sound loudly when breached.
Always swim at a lifeguarded beach and pay attention to the beach flags.
Wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on a boat.
C – Classes
Take a water safety course at a local aquatic facility to learn the skills necessary to survive in the water.
Take CPR classes.
D – Drain Safety
Have a pool professional check residential drain covers to determine whether or not they are safe.
Encourage children to stay away from drains. Non compliant drain covers can cause suction entrapment injuries and possible death.
Those using a pool/spa should know where the cut off switch is for the pump in case a suction entrapment incident occurs.
The Drowning Prevention Coalition (DPC) of Palm Beach County urges everyone to use the ABCD’s of water safety to stay safe in and around water, but it is up to each individual to make sure a drowning incident does not happen. For more information on water safety lessons and water safety/drowning prevention education, please visit the DPC website at http://www.pbcgov.org/drowningprevention/ or call 561-616-7068. The coalition is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.
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