The City of Midland is reminding the public to carefully consider water safety as pool season draws near.
Drowning is the top cause of accidental deaths in children under the age of 5 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it causes thousands of deaths nationwide per year. By simply following a few water safety tips and avoiding high-risk behavior, citizens can help decrease those deadly numbers this year.
Midland Health and Senior Services and the Midland Fire Department are both working to spread the word about drowning dangers among children and teenagers. Factors such as lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers and pool fencing, lack of close supervision, failure to wear life jackets, and alcohol use can greatly increase chances of drowning, according to the CDC.
"Water sports are a great way to have fun and be physically active," said Celestino "Sal" Garcia, Health Manager, "but please stay safe. That means closely supervising children, wearing a life jacket and avoiding the deadly mix of alcohol, drugs, and water activities."
There are several myths related to drowning. While many might believe that a victim will yell for help, that's often not the case as the victim is trying to breathe. The same goes for the belief that a victim will wave his or her hands in the air, when in reality the victim's hands will be too busy wading in water, trying to swim.
Water safety tips:• Make sure all family members know how to swim and that infants and children wear a life jacket when they are in or near open water.• Supervise children and teens when they are in or near all types of water.• Install barriers such as self-closing fences and gates that latch around personal pools.• Talk to teenagers about avoiding high-risk behaviors, like drinking alcohol, that could lead to a drowning event.• Install drain covers in pools and hot tubs to prevent entrapment.• Always wear a life jacket when boating in lakes and rivers, and always swim in a designated area with lifeguards when possible.• Be especially careful when swimming, boating, tubing, or rafting in rivers due to dangers from currents. The best decision may be not to enter the water.
For more information, call Midland Health and Senior Services at 681-7613 or the Midland Fire Department at 432-685-7332. ###
Media Contact: Fire Marshal David Hickman and Health Manager Celestino "Sal" Garcia