May is National Water Safety Month. The focus is on raising awareness of water-safety issues, and how to protect yourself and the ones you love-especially children-against water’s built-in hazards.
There are opportunities all over Florida to be on or in the water. But with “water, water everywhere”-lakes, rivers, the ocean, the Gulf and countless swimming pools-it’s easy to forget that water really isn’t safe. But adopting a few simple safety steps may make the difference between life and death for you or someone you know. Kids are particularly vulnerable. According to, Safe Kids-Seminole County, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury- related death in children nationwide. age 14 and under. In fact, drowning takes the lives of nearly 1,000 children each year nationwide.
Before your next encounter with water, pledge to take these steps:
- Talk to your kids about water safety. Establish rules around and in the water, and enforce them.
- Learn to swim if you don’t already know how.
- Teach your kids to swim, or enroll them in swimming lessons.
- Assign one adult at a time to actively supervise all water activities. Shift the assignment frequently to maintain active, close attention.
- Establish barriers wherever you can, especially near your swimming pool. Use pool covers, fences and gates; and set door alarms and/ or an in-pool alarm. Consider outfitting your youngest kids with water- activated alarm bracelets.
- Avoid entrapment (getting caught in or on something in the water). On open water, heed warning signs, pay attention to debris and other possible dangers, and keep a life-saving device close. In pools, pay particular attention to drains, pipes and any other openings.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Have a plan know CPR, and always keep a phone handy.
Taking these steps will help ensure that a fun time in and on the water is also safe time.
Jackie GambiII is the marketing manager at Probity Pools, Central Florida’s premier pool-maintenance service provider, and an advocate for water safety throughout Seminole County and the surrounding area.