TULSA, Okla. – PSA, Red Cross of Oklahoma – Our hearts go out to the family of the young child who drowned this week at a motel swimming pool. This tragic event is a sobering reminder that accidents on the water can happen in an instant, and sometimes, even if you do everything right, a tragedy can still occur.
With the traditional Memorial Day kick-off to the summer boating and swimming season coming up this weekend, the Red Cross is urging people to review water safety guidelines to help minimize risk in or around the water.
General Water Safety and Boating Tips
Learn to swim. The Red Cross offers Learn-to-Swim programs to teach people of all ages and varying abilities to swim, as well as basic water safety knowledge and skills that can be used in the event of an emergency. Even good swimmers can run into difficult situations or unfamiliar water conditions.
Weak or inexperienced swimmers and non-swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket and practice “reach supervision” – which means that a supervisor is within an arm’s reach at all times.
Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.
Swim in supervised areas only.
Obey all rules and posted signs.
Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
Don’t mix alcohol and swimming or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. Learn CPR to help during an emergency.
Never leave a child unobserved around water. Your eyes must be on the child at all times.
Home Pool Safety
Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless or cell phone nearby so that you can call 911 in an emergency.
Enclose backyard pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars.
Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should remain locked and be protected with an alarm that sounds when the door is opened.
Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over.
Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. A pole, rope and personal flotation devices are recommended.
Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.
The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping people prevent, prepare and respond to disasters. Our service depends on local donations. If you can help us to help our communities, contact your local Red Cross at 831-1100 or log on towww.OklahomaRedCross.org. The Tulsa Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is a proud partner agency of the Tulsa Area United Way.