It’s the end of the summer, time to squeeze in the last couple of weeks at the beach, on the lake, or at the pool. Although these places are fun, it’s good to remember that water safety is important, especially for children. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of death in children 1 to 14 according to the CDC. So, to keep your family safe at the end of the summer, here are some tips to remember when you’re around water (from Chris McCuiston, co-founder and CEO of Goldfish Swim School in Michigan).
“1) Know that drowning is a “silent killer.” It occurs in a quiet blink, and drowning only takes seconds.
2) Designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, iPads, books, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised. Have the grown ups take turns in 30 minutes increments. That way a person doesn’t get too tired or zoned out.
3) Enroll your kids in swim lessons, if possible as early as four months old, but if the infant years have passed, any age is fine. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
4) Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water. Not only will your water fears rub off on your children, but by not knowing how to swim, you are eliminating a person with the ability to save a child’s life.
5) Invest in latches, fences and sensors if you own a pool. Again, drowning only takes a second.
6) Notify a supervisor if a lifeguard is distracted from doing his or her job. That means no chit-chatting, flirting or “quickly” checking texts. Also, say something if a lifeguard sits at a station more than 30 minutes. They need to rotate to stay alert. Doing these things eliminates complacency.
7) Take first-aid and CPR. Every second counts.
8) Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
9) Stay humble around water. Over-confidence can lead to accidents.”
Have a fun, safe Labor Day weekend!
Kristina Sauerwein. 9 Simple Steps to Prevent Your Child From Drowning. Baby Center Blog. http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/05202015-water-safety-child-drowning-summer/
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America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a water warning for areas near Durango, Colorado spreading all the way to Mexico. Last week, the Animas River suffered a toxic spill from a nearby mine, resulting in a mustard-colored contamination. 3 million gallons of lead, cadmium, arsenic, copper, manganese, and iron spilled when federal EPA workers were moving earth trying to control rising water levels in Gold King Mine and prevent an incident such as this one.
“What wasn’t a problem in the past is becoming a problem now because of the increased use of mountain water,” says geology and alpine hydrology professor Mark Williams at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Mark has worked with the EPA in the past to mitigate polluted water from abandoned Colorado mines. Western states together contain 500,000 abandoned mine sites that have the potential to cause pollution issues such as this one.
But issue at hand remains how the water is going to affect the rest of the country and Mexico. The watershed that the Animas River flows into has already contaminated Colorado and Utah and will continue to flow down through the Navajo nation (some parts of Arizona and New Mexico) and Mexico. Farmers, industrial buildings, and the community surrounding the area of the spill have been warned not to use the water until it is deemed safe again. In the meantime, the EPA has sent out teams to clean the river thoroughly so that it can start to self-heal and bring wildlife back to the area. People living in areas affected by the spill can now file claims with the EPA.
Yahoo! News. Animas River Spill: How Colorado’s ‘Gold Medal’ Rivers Turned Mustard. http://news.yahoo.com/animas-river-spill-colorados-gold-medal-waters-turned-002900376.html
Fox News. EPA’s McCarthy: Contaminated Water From Colorado Mine Will Spread. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/08/11/epa-mccarthy-contamination-from-colorado-mine-spill-will-spread-cause-still/
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