Memorial Day weekend marked the beginning of pool season at most area pools. Pools in neighborhoods throughout Mount Vernon will be open on limited schedules, and start full schedules when Fairfax County Public Schools let out (June 14). Look for plenty of fun activities at the pool this summer, but remember to heed the following advice put out by the Alexandria Red Cross.
NOW THAT MEMORIAL DAY has passed, families everywhere have started using pools for summer fun. In the dash to cool off, pool safety is often overlooked and children are put in jeopardy. According to the National Spa and Pool Institute, drowning is a leading nationwide cause of accidental death for infants and children.
"Summer is a great time to relax - except when it comes to water safety," said Kellianne Sheridan, Alexandria Chapter, American Red Cross, Health and Safety Director. "Playing it safe in and around the pool and following a few simple guidelines will provide for a happy swimming season," she added.
The Red Cross urges families to remember the following safety tips when swimming in pools this summer:
* Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is learn to swim well.
* Never leave a child unattended around water. Children should never swim unsupervised, and everyone should always swim with a buddy.
* Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. A reaching pole, a ring buoy, a portable phone and U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices are recommended. A pool alarm can also add a layer of protection.
* Be sure the pool is surrounded on all sides by a fence that is at least four feet high. It should not provide any footholds which would allow a child to climb over or spacing to climb through. The fence should have a self-closing, self-latching gate that is locked when the pool is not in use.
* Learn Red Cross CPR. Insist that baby-sitters, au pairs, grandparents and others who care for your child know CPR. Post CPR instructions in the pool area. More information on staying safe in and around the water by learning CPR and first aid is available by contacting the Alexandria Chapter at 703-549-8300 or by visiting www.alexandriaredcross.org or www.redcross.org.