YMCA Reminders for Parents on Pool and Swim Safety
By Joyce Sviba, Aquatics Director, YMCA Huntington
With nearly 120,000 in-ground and above-ground pools in Nassau and Suffolk counties, water is all around us here on Long Island. And, as that water becomes extra tempting as temperatures and humidity rise throughout July and August, the YMCA of Long Island reminds parents about these basic pool and swim safety guidelines:
Get Some Swim Lessons: Research shows that children who have had formal swim instruction before the age of 4 are significantly less likely to be involved in a serious or fatal water incident. If a child has not had formal lessons, the YMCA of Long Island offers more youth swimming instruction than any other Long Island organization.
Adult Supervision A Must: Even children who are experienced swimmers should not be left unattended and should swim only under the undivided, undistracted supervision of an adult (no reading, texting or talking on the phone). During pool parties or barbecues, adults should take turns supervising. Be sure babysitters are aware of the necessity for constant supervision in the pool.
Never Swim Alone: The “Buddy System” applies to all, and even adults should always swim with a partner, or under the supervision of another adult.
Keep A Telephone Close By: In the event of a water emergency, every second counts so have a fully charged cordless or cell phone outdoors near the pool. If 9-1-1 is not the local emergency call number be sure that number is clearly posted.
Lifesaving Equipment At The Ready: Be sure that basic lifesaving equipment, such as float rings, poles and rope, are near the pool, and that adults understand their basic operation.
Learn First Aid and CPR: Keep a First Aid kit near the pool. Adults should learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
Install and Use Fences and Latches: New York State requires a minimum of four-foot fencing around a pool with self-closing, self-locking latches on gates. Check with your local municipality if they have more restrictive standards. For above-ground pools four feet or higher, use a ladder which is removable or can be locked when the pool is not in use. Smaller aboveground pools also require fencing, unless they are emptied after each use.
Alarms A Requirement: Swimming pools installed or constructed after 1996 in New York State are required to have an audible alarm capable of detecting entry into the water.
Summer Storm Safety: All swimmers should leave the pool and go indoors at the first sound of thunder or the first sight of lightning, and remain indoors and out of the water for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
With over 60,000 members, the YMCA of Long Island provides over 22,000 swim lessons annually and is committed on a daily basis to the safety of all Long Islanders enjoying the water. To learn more about our swim instruction programs, contact the YMCA of Long Island at (516) 674-8091.