Don’t assume anything

Memorial Day weekend marked the opening of public and private swimming pools throughout our region. For many, it proved to be a relief from the pre-summer heat. The problem is that we have logged a near-drowning on the first day of pools being opened. I do not know the facts of this case, but the news reported that the child was still in critical condition on the day of the event.

Concerning children, the primary cause of their problems in a pool is the lack of parental supervision. Some parents believe that because they are present at the pool, that is enough. The fact of the matter is that their attention needs to be focused on their children the whole time they are in the water. Others believe that because a pool has a lifeguard it relieves parents of their supervision responsibility. In fact, unless pools have rules against this, some parents will drop their children at the pool, assuming that the lifeguard will watch them. Babysitting your children is not the job of a lifeguard.

The more people at a pool, the more important the job of supervision becomes. Public pools see many people daily; people that may be able to swim well versus those that sink like a brick and cannot swim a lick. The problem is that the non-swimmer believes that he or she can do everything anyone else in the pool can do. Swimming lessons would be a start to ensuring that you or your children can handle themselves in the water.

Some pools allow alcohol on their premises. Alcohol and water have proven to be a problem, whether in a pool or while boating in a river. Alcohol leads people to take chances that they might not normally take while under the influence. Another danger of alcohol is that people have fallen asleep and received bad sun burns as a result.

While talking water-related incidents, it is important that we talk about swimming, wading, kayaking or whatever activity that you undertake on the river. The important thing is to note that as the river rises; restrictions are placed on those that enter the river, whether it is to wear a life jacket or obtain a permit. These restrictions are for your safety.

Boating accidents kill or maim people every year. Most accidents involve the use of alcohol, while others occur because of inexperienced boat owners or complacency. Bow-riding is illegal. Life jackets should be worn when the boat is underway, especially by children and those that cannot swim. All safety equipment should be checked and in date. Also, all boating accidents in Virginia must be reported to Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries.

The point of this article is to ensure that you acknowledge the dangers associated with the water, whether in a pool, on a lake or out upon the high seas. It might be a pool in your back yard or a fishing trip on the river; you must be prepared for the unexpected. Parents, watch your children. Enjoy the summer, and all that comes with it. A water-related incident will bring your joy to a screeching halt. 

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