The Oneida County Drowning Prevention Task Force is raising awareness about ways to ensure healthy, safe swimming to prevent drowning.
Karen Fiocchi, YMCA head swim instructor and member of the Oneida County Drowning Prevention Task Force, presented the “Who Needs a Life Jacket” boat/water safety puppet show. After the puppet show, students performed dry land activities with life jackets and paddles. Students practiced safe reaching and throwing assists where they learned “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go” into the water to help someone.
According to The Wisconsin Burden of Injury Report 2011, drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children ages 1 through 4 years and the third cause of injury or death in children ages 5 through 9. Others who have come close to drowning may face long-term impairments including memory problems, learning disabilities, permanent physical disabilities and paralysis.
“To make sure swimming is healthy and safe, it’s critical to take precautions to prevent drowning,” said Jill Blake, Oneida County Public Health Nurse.
Precautions to prevent drowning include:
• Make sure all family members know how to swim.
• Ensure that older children and adults know CPR.
• Use appropriately fitting life jackets for children and weak swimmers.
• Provide close, constant and attentive supervision to the swimmers, even when a lifeguard is present.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs while swimming or watching swimmers.
• Check the depth of water before diving to prevent neck/head injuries.
• Prevent access to pools when not in use by installing and maintaining barriers and using locks or alarms for windows and doors. Pools should have four-sided fencing and weight-bearing covers.
For more information about safe swimming, visit cdc.gov/healthyswimming/ or the NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org for more information about how to promote water safety all year long.
For local information, call Jill Blake at the Oneida County Health Department, (715) 369-6110.