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Kingsport Fire Department promotes water safety tips to ensure summertime fun

June 1st, 2014 2:00 pm by J. H. Osborne

Kingsport Fire Department promotes water safety tips to ensure summertime fun

Lifeguard Holden Hart keeps a watch on swimmers Wednesday at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — Water safety is important year-round, but more people — including families and children — head to area pools, lakes and other waterways this time of year.

With that in mind, the Kingsport Fire Department is promoting water safety tips — for the home, while swimming and when boating — from Safe Kids Worldwide.

A startling fact to get your attention: Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children ages 1-4.

All the information, and more, can be found at www.safekids.org, according to a release issued by the KFD's Barry Brickey.

Top Tips:

* Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention.

* When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the Water Watcher card strategy, which designates an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision.

* Whether you're swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. From the first time your kids swim, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.

* We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind — and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.

* Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.

Water safety at home:

* Don't leave children alone in or around water.

* Never leave your child unattended around water. It sounds strict, but there is no room for compromise. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.

* Put the cell phone away, Forget about all the other things you have to do and give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.

* When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children's reach. These types of pools can pose a drowning risk.

* Remove water from tubs and buckets after use.

* Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.

* Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children's reach.

* Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.

* Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.

* Learn CPR. Parents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind — and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better.


Boating safety:

* In 2011, 70 percent of the victims of all fatal boating accidents drowned, and of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

* Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child make a "touchdown" signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child's chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.

* Many boating accidents each year involve alcohol consumption by both the boat operators and passengers. To keep you and your loved ones safe, it is strongly recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages while boating.

* Infants and young children are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so if you are taking a baby on a boat, just take a few extra precautions to keep your baby warm. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.

* We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind — and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.

* Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool — they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

American Red Cross swim lessons are offered year-round at the Kingsport Aquatic Center, for ages 6 months through adults.

Upcoming summer sessions include eight classes each (Monday-Thursday for a two-week period).

Registration dates and session include:

Summer 1 — June 2-12 (registration began May 17).

Summer 2 — June 16-26 (registration begins at 8 a.m. June 14).

Summer 3 — July 7-17 (registration begins at 8 a.m. June 28).

Summer 4 — July 21-31 (registration begins at 8 a.m. July 19).

Register at www.swimkingsport.com or at the Kingsport Aquatic Center reception desk. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For faster online registration, please sign up for an online account prior to the registration date.

For private swim lessons, call Karissa Skeens at (423) 343-9760.

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