Memorial Day signals the start of summer and also marks the opening of community, neighborhood and backyard swimming pools in East Cobb. Drownings can happen any time of the year but parents and caregivers need to be particularly vigilant during warmer months, when the number of drownings skyrockets. The majority of pool-related incidents occur at backyard, apartment complex and subdivision swimming pools. Many of these facilities are “swim at your own risk” and require extra diligence from parents and caregivers.
In 2014, Cobb County firefighters responded to 17 drowning or near-drowning incidents. Though these numbers are down from 47 in 2011, safety officials say one is too many and all are preventable.
Officials attribute this decrease to aggressive public awareness campaigns. A technique called “Water Watcher” strives to designate a responsible adult who agrees to watch out for pool patrons, especially children in the water. The idea is to periodically rotate the duties to another responsible adult, so as not to be intrusive on any one person. This is particularly important in situations where the pool becomes crowded or when there is no lifeguard provided. In order to stay safe and enjoy the summer, safety officials suggest following simple pool safety rules:
SUPERVISE: Never take your eyes off children in and around the water.
USE BARRIERS: Fences, with self-closing/self-latching gates and secured doors with alarms, can prevent young children from wandering into the pool.
AVOID ENTRAPMENT: Suction from a pool’s drain is so powerful it can trap an adult underwater. Be sure to check for and replace a missing or broken drain cover.
LEARN TO SWIM: To stay safe in the water, all family members should learn how to swim. Those who cannot swim should wear approved floatation devices.
KNOW HOW TO RESPOND: Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills.
For additional information on water safety, visit www.safekids.org
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