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June 2012
Volume 2, Issue 2

ABCs of Water Safety

Family Swimming A = Active Adult Supervision

Did you know that most child drowning victims are supervised by one or both parents when pool accidents occur? In 2009, 77% of child victims were missing for 5 minutes or less when they were found in the pool drowned or submerged. Active adult supervision means maintaining eye contact with the child at all times. Assign an adult to supervise children in and around the swimming pool and spa. This is needed whether there is one parent / guardian present or several adults present, like during a family event or party. If you have to use the restroom or make a phone call, remove the children from the swimming area – don’t leave them unattended, even for a minute! The adult in charge of supervising the children should have an item such as a whistle, bracelet, or water-watcher tag to reinforce which adult is in charge of the safety of the children. Floaties and other inflatable flotation devices are NOT life jackets. These types of devices should never be substituted for active adult supervision. Maintain a clear view (no trees, bushes or other obstacles) from the home to the swimming area. If you are the adult in charge of supervising children in the water, know the emergency services telephone number and also your location address in case emergency personnel need to be called to the scene.

B = Barriers

You should use multiple types of barriers to keep children out of the water when they shouldn’t be there. Examples of barriers include fencing, self-closing and self-latching gates, pool alarms, pool safety nets and pool safety covers. It is important to have more than just one type of barrier to prevent children from accessing the pool area. Test these devices out and make sure they work properly. Your child should not be able to get over, under or through a properly functioning barrier. Make sure there are no chairs, tables, or other objects that children could use to climb up to reach a gate latch or enable them to climb over the fence.

C = Classes & Preparation

Adults should take a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class and maintain current CPR certification, and learn proper rescue techniques. They should also keep rescue equipment at poolside. All children should take swimming lessons. Kids can develop swim skills through qualified and on-going instruction. Families should attend a water safety workshop together and discuss the family rules for when children are allowed to swim (i.e. only when there is active adult supervision).

Information taken from www.sbdpn.org and http://www.abcpoolsafety.org.

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Inspections of Public Swimming Places

People Swimming Summer is officially here, and that means inspectors from DEHS will be inspecting all public swimming places in San Bernardino County. Public swimming places include any public pools, spas, water parks, waterslides, lakes, and lagoons. Inspectors will be looking for possible health and safety hazards in and around the swimming area. For pools and spas, they will be testing the water for chlorine, pH, cyanuric acid, and clarity. Public swim areas at lakes are tested for pH and bacterial counts. In addition to the routine inspections by inspectors, San Bernardino County hires summer public service employees to assess public swimming places for basic safety issues such as fence and gate hazards, electrical and lighting hazards, water clarity, and other imminent health threats.

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San Bernardino County Drowning Prevention Network

Kids Swimming DEHS is a proud member of the San Bernardino County Drowning Prevention Network. This coalition seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of drowning, and works to promote safe water practices. The mission of the network is to keep San Bernardino County residents and visitors informed about local occurrences of drownings and to strive to keep families water safe. Members of the San Bernardino County Drowning Prevention Network include fire departments, law enforcement agencies, the county health department, child advocates and local hospitals. The network’s website is www.sbdpn.org. The website has current information on drowning statistics in San Bernardino County in 2011 and thus far in 2012.

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Mobile Website for the Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS)

Mobile phone Did you know we have a mobile website? You can now access DEHS resources even if you’re away from your home/office by visiting http://m.sbcounty.gov/dehs on your smartphone. Use your iPhone, Android or Blackberry to see the latest news from DEHS, or submit a complaint while information is still fresh in your mind. Our mobile website won a 2012 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for Information Technology. Check out our mobile website today!

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Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Find us on TwitterCounty of San Bernardino, Environmental Health Services is on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation about pool safety, foodborne illness prevention, vector control and more.

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If you have any questions or comments, please contact Amanda Gaspard, Health Education Specialist,
at 800-442-2283 or Amanda.Gaspard@dph.sbcounty.gov.

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