Friday, May 25, 2012

Avoid Wicked Ways: Tips for a Safer Memorial Day Weekend

Written by Kyla Campbell, staff contributor

Kids are out of school, you're itching for 5 o'clock and for the last few hours all you can think of is how the warm sun feels as it lands on your shoulders. You've officially been bitten by the fast approaching kick-off to summer—Memorial Day weekend!

While the long weekend—packed with fun family adventures, days spent in the water and nights spent grilling with friends and family—typically results in sun-blistered memories, ensure your water filled days are safe by following these tips.  

Understand the Risks. Make Sure Everyone Knows How to Swim Well.
  • Home pool drowning is a leading cause of death for children younger than 5.
  • Children were often out of sight less than 5 minutes and under the care of one or both parents at the time of many home pool drownings.*
  • It is never safe to dive in an aboveground pool. Many in-ground pools are not safe for diving.

Take Action to Prevent Drowning.
  • Learn how to safely respond to aquatic and other emergencies by taking Red Cross courses, such as First Aid, CPR, Lifeguarding and Basic Water Rescue.
  • Surround the entire pool with a fence or barrier that is at least 4 feet high, has a self-closing and self-latching gate and is designed so that a child cannot climb over, under, around or through it.
  • Keep children under active supervision when in or around the water.
  • Have weak swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket—do not rely on water wings or inflatable toys.
  • Remove any pool toys from the pool or hot tub area when the area is not in use.
  • Do not use alcohol and/or drugs before or while using a pool or hot tub.
  • Establish and enforce rules, such as no one swims alone, stay away from drains, no loose/dangling items and no diving (if appropriate). Obey set limits for how much time is spent in hot water.

If you are a pool owner and want more a more detailed list of how to protect your family this summer while enjoying your pool, see our pool safety checklist at

*Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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