It’s that time of year again, the time that always fills me with a little bit of dread, the time I’m never quite ready for, the time that makes me question the life choices that led me to return to Kern County to raise my children. If you are like me, the first time you see 100 degrees on the weather forecast for the first time you feel a certain level of panic. Is it going to stay over 100 degrees forever? When is the next time I will be able to open a window and air out my house? How high will my electric bill be this summer? I think this fear is increased for all of us that have children as we try to plan out what in the world we are going to do to keep the kids entertained when we can’t take them outside and perhaps that is topic for another blog post.
Today I want to talk about the one bright spot of living in a place that has many consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. For me, that bright spot is swimming and all sorts of playing with water. The warm temperatures heat up the pool to a comfortable level in no time, the water cools everyone down after a long day, and pools can provide hours of outside entertainment for kids that are otherwise stuck inside. As great as pools are, they can also be a dangerous place for everyone, but especially those of us with kids. In fact, drowning is the number one cause of death for infants and children 1-4 years old. Since so many of us spend so much time in and around pools and other water sources during Kern County summers, it is especially important to review tips to keeping the pool experience as safe as possible. Below you will find some important tips to keep everyone safe while enjoying time pool side.
- Supervise children around water
- Never leave children unattended when they are near or in the water.
- When children are in the pool make sure to designate an official Water Watcher whose only job is to watch the children in the pool. The adults can take turns being the water watcher and that person should not be doing anything else when they are on duty. This means put your phone down!
- If a child is missing check the pool first! Seconds count when saving a child who is in water.
- Drowning usually happens quickly and silently. You have to keep a vigilant watch. Children can drown in as few as a few inches of water. Most children who drown were out of sight for less than 5 minutes (CDC)
- Learn to swim
- Enroll your kids in swimming lessons. There are many private options around town.
- While the city of Bakersfield is not offering swim lessons because of COVID-19, North of the River has swim lessons this summer: https://www.norfun.org/swim-lessons
- Formal swim lessons can reduce the rest of drowning by up to 88% (US Swimming.org)
- Pay attention to drains
- Teach kids not to swim near the drains
- Hair and loose clothing can get caught in drains
- Check to make sure that the drains have proper covers
- Know how to shut off the vacuum feature before entering a spa
- Learn CPR
- Being CPR certified could help you save a life
- Use a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest.
- Other flotation devices can shift or malfunction. Make sure you always look for the U.S. Coast Guard stamp of approval.
- Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use
- Toys can entice children to enter the pool area and put this puts the children in danger.
I hope this information is helpful as your play fun ways to cool down this summer. If you would like more information, I found these websites useful and informative and the information in this post is drawn from them.
Blog Written by WarmLine Volunteer Kristen Dobyns