Here are some pool safety tips as summer approaches

As the weather warms up, many will start spending more time by the pool. Here are some tips to follow.

MOLINE, Ill. — Many public pools opened Memorial Day weekend and many families jumped into their backyard pools for the first time this summer. As we begin to have summer weather, more and more people will be spending more time in the water. Here are some safety tips to follow:

Never leave a child unattended in or near water

Make sure you always keep an eye on children when they are at the pool. If you are in a group with multiple children and adults, designate an adult to watch the children or alternate times when each adult contributes. When watching children, it is essential that they do not read, text, play games on their phones, etc. ; their only job is to watch the children. But keep your phone nearby in case of an emergency and need to contact help. Even if there are lifeguards present, adults should always watch the children who have accompanied them to the field.

Don’t swim alone

Use the buddy system when swimming. Not only is it more fun, but it also allows someone to watch over you and, in an emergency, to call or fetch help.

Teaching children to swim

This is a vital skill children should have. You can enroll children in swimming lessons at many organizations, such as your local YMCA, the United States Swimming Chapter, and local parks and recreation departments; who often offer free or discounted courses.

Stay away from drains

Try not to swim near drains or other suction points, especially in shallow pools or hot tubs. These can signify potential danger in contact with looser hair, limbs, jewelry, or swimwear. Never enter a pool with a loose, broken or missing drain cover. Make sure you know where the vacuum emergency stop is.

Have a good drain cover

Make sure your drain has a proper drain cover. All public swimming pools must have drain covers or grates that meet state and/or federal safety standards. It is important to have a cover because a drain suction can entrap a person and lead to drowning.

Barriers, covers and alarms

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, make sure you have fences, gates, alarms or covers. If you have a fence, it should be at least 4 feet high, not able to be climbed by children, and surround the entire pool. If you have a door, make sure it is only accessible by self-closing or self-latching. Install a door alarm from the house to the pool. Finally, keep the pool covered when not in use.

Don’t play games that hold your breath

These games could lead to drowning. If someone holds their breath too long or hyperventilates before diving, they are at high risk of fainting underwater. There are proper breathing techniques you can learn while swimming to prevent this.

Wear a life jacket

Young children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard certified life jacket around the water. Even when wearing a life jacket, you should still follow swimming safety guidelines. Other flotation devices such as water wings, floats, pool noodles, etc. do not replace life jackets.

Enter feet first

Injuries can occur if you dive or jump headfirst, especially in shallow water. If you are interested in jumping and diving, learn the correct form and make sure it is in an area where it is safe to do so.

Stay in designated swimming areas

Stay in designated swimming areas based on your swimming level. If you are by a lake or the ocean, be sure to stay in the designated swimming area.

Avoid alcohol consumption

Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment, balance and coordination. It can affect your ability to swim and lower your body temperature. Parents and designated lifeguards should avoid consuming alcohol as it can distract you and prevent you from responding appropriately in an emergency.

Don’t jump in the water to save someone

If you see someone struggling to stay above water, don’t jump in to try to save them; this could lead to the drowning of both people. A common motto is “Reach, throw, don’t go”: which means using a long object to pull the struggling swimmer to safety. This keeps both the struggling swimmer and yourself out of harm’s way.

Learn CPR

Learning CPR can help save a life. Once certified, keep up to date with the certification. If you want to be certified, classes are offered at hospitals, community centers, or by contacting the American Red Cross.

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