Water safety tips from Florida's Department of Children & Families

Water safety tips from Florida's Department of Children & Families (May 6, 2014)

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County said Monday that six children have died in pools in Palm Beach and Broward counties during the past two months.

Swimming safety experts advise that adults who are supervising children in the water keep them at arms length, at all times.

The Coalition also reminded residents to follow the ABCDs of water safety, that are:

A – Adult supervision. Designate an adult “water watcher” with a lanyard or funny hat. The accessories remind the kids and the adult who is charge. The adult should not read, talk on a phone or be distracted by anything. Adults can take turns as suprervisors and should be sober and know how to swim and to perform CPR.

Also, do not rely on any flotation devices as a substitute for being present. Water wings or floaties or noodles are not safe substitutes for U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, the Coalition says.

B – Barriers, beach safety and boating safety. Have a properly working physical barrier between kids and water, whether a fence, pool safety cover or pool alarm that meets code requirements. Install window and door alarms and make sure they’re turned on.  Always swim at a beach that has lifeguards and note beach flags that may indicate water hazards like rip currents. While boating, wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets that fit.

 C – Classes.  Take a water safety course at a local pool or YMCA to learn water survival skills; learn CPR.

 D – Drain Safety. Have a pool professional check pool drain covers to make sure the suction is not too powerful, and teach kids to avoid them. Learn where a pool or spa pump cut-off switch is located in case a swimmer is trapped by suction.

For questions or more information, the Coaltion can be reached at 561-616-7068 or www.pbcgov.org/dpc.

Broward County residents can go to http://browardchd.org/healths_drowning.aspx for pool safety tips and locations for swimming lessons.