May 23, 2003
Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Shanley, 863 534-6631 or
Water Safety Tips for
As Florida's weather begins to get warmer and
children are let out of school for the Summer, the Polk County Sheriff's
Office is highlighting the following water safety tips:
- SUPERVISION is a key element in getting
maximum, safe enjoyment from any pool; one adult person must assume
primary responsibility for supervising. The rules should be clearly
communicated and understood by all persons, young and old. Young
children and non-swimmers should be taught about important safety
precautions. Keep toys, tricycles, and other children's playthings away
from a pool or spa.
- ABILITY to swim must not be overestimated.
Know your own capabilities. If you are unsure, you should remain in
shallow waters. Never swim alone or allow others to do so. Never swim
when overtired, feeling chilled, or after taking drugs or alcohol. It is
best not to swim immediately after eating a heavy meal.
- HEADFIRST ENTRY can quickly become a
serious situation. The chief danger for divers or headfirst sliders is
serious spinal injury. Spinal injuries can occur even at very slow
speeds if the head strikes firmly against the bottom or side. In an
aboveground pool, there should be no diving or headfirst entry. If the
depth of the water is unknown, always go in the water feet first.
- JUMPING AND HORSEPLAY can also quickly
lead to serious injuries. Jumping incorrectly into shallow water can be
dangerous, and injuries, such as a broken leg, can occur if you hit
bottom with sufficient force. Before jumping, know the depth of the
water and look out for any submerged obstacles, surface objects or other
- BARRIERS should be installed and
maintained. An isolation fence should be installed that completely
separates the swimming pool/spa from the house and yard. The fencing
should be a minimum of four feet in height with vertical spacing not
exceeding four inches. Always drain standing water off of a pool/spa
cover. Be sure door alarms, certified pool safety covers, self-closing
doors and latching doors are properly maintained.
- EDUCATION is the key in preventing
water-related injuries. Make sure you know how to swim; if you don't,
enroll yourself and/or your child in swimming lessons. Never consider
your child "drown proof," even after swimming lessons. Lessons are not a
substitute for supervision by a responsible adult. Don't rely on water
wings or inflatable devices to keep your child afloat. They are not
fool-proof and are not a substitute for supervision.
- EMERGENCIES should be prepared for by all.
Learn how to give CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), first aid and
other lifesaving practices to adults and children. Teach members of your
family how to contact local emergency medical services. Post 9-1-1 in an
easy to see place.
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNSUPERVISED IN OR
NEAR ANY BODY OF WATER, EVEN FOR A SECOND.
For more information about this and other
community services programs, please call the Sheriff's Office Community
Services Section at 863-534-6377.