N.Y. (WETM) — With Memorial Day coming up and temperatures rising, New Yorkers will be spending more time by the pool and having fun on the lakes. To make sure everyone stays safe by the water, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection has released some tips.
“Summer is a time for fun in the sun and in the water, but accidents can happen in an instant without the proper safety precautions,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “With warmer weather approaching, we strongly encourage New York’s families to review water safety with their children and ensure they’re supervised around water at all times.”
When swimming or enjoying other water-based activities, it’s important to never leave children unattended. The adult or adults watching children in or near water should never be distracted and have eyes on the children at all times. Parents are also encouraged to enroll their children in swimming lessons. Having even the most basic swimming skills can help prevent drownings. If someone does drown, knowing CPR can help save their life.
Those who spend time around water with other people should be able to recognize the signs of drowning. Although movies and TV shows typically show drowning victims loudly splashing in the water, this is rarely the case. Drowning victims are typically quiet. A drowning person might have their head low in the water with their mouth submerged or their head tilted back with their mouth open. Drowning victims might also have their eyes closed, their eyes unable to focus, or their legs vertical in the water. If a person looks like they are trying to swim but making no progress, they could be drowning. Drowning victims might also sink.
The color of a person’s bathing suit can prevent drownings. A highly visible bathing suit can be critical in spotting a drowning victim, especially if they sink in the water. Neon pink and neon orange are the most visible colors in pools with light-colored bottoms. Neon orange, neon yellow, and neon green are the most visible colors in lakes and pools with dark bottoms.
If you plan to spend your summer lounging around a pool, there are some steps you should take to make sure the pool is safe and secure. Pools and spas need to have safety barriers installed. This includes fences, gates, and covers. Pool alarms are an extra layer of security that will let you know if someone gets into your pool while it’s unattended. All pool and spa drains need to be properly covered to prevent injury. Children need to be kept away from all drains, pipes, filters, and other openings in pools and spas. Children’s limbs, hair, bathing suits, and jewelry can get stuck in drains and other suction openings. Small portable pools can also pose a drowning risk, so they should be drained and put away when not in use.
All water can be dangerous, but extra care needs to be taken when it comes to open bodies of water like lakes or the ocean. Life jackets need to be worn at all times when on a boat, swimming, or doing other activities in open waters. Make sure you and your children are wearing the right type and size of life jacket. The U.S. Coast Guard has information about how to choose the right life jacket.
When swimming on a lake or ocean beach, it’s best to swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty. If you’re swimming in designated swimming areas, you need to be aware of what warning flags mean. Green flags mean it’s safe to swim, yellow flags mean there’s an advisory, and red flags mean there’s a hazard or danger and no one should swim.
For more safety tips, you can visit the Division of Consumer Protection’s website.