I have the ability to get from point A to point B while in the water, but certainly no medals for form are awaiting me for swimming. The ability to remain calm and work with your body to avert danger is a skill that is learned and is best taught early in life. Today, I would like to make sure our community is aware of a few facts to make us all more aware of the pleasure and dangers water can present to us and our families.
One of the first things our community can do is make sure those who are able have the opportunity to learn to swim. There are many local programs that are available and eager to help all family members learn to swim, or to help family members learn to swim better. I have included a link to an Australian website that has some valuable information and some short 30 second public service announcements that no one will be able to forget that teach the importance of just how short a time is needed for a child to be in trouble around water. Please watch, but use parental discretion before entire families view these important water safety public service announcements at www.watersafety.vic.gov.au/home/pool+safety/toddler+safety.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered in Atlanta, advocates the “Triple A’s of Healthy Swimming” — Awareness, Action and Advocacy.
Be Aware that you are at any public pool, please follow some common-sense advice. Don’t swallow the water you swim in, wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers and take children on frequent bathroom visits.
Take Action by checking the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water. Pools: Proper free chlorine level — 1.3 mg/L or parts per million and pH 7.2–7.8 — maximize germ-killing power. Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level (chlorine 2–4 ppm or bromine 4–6 ppm and pH 7.2-7.8) maximize germ-killing power.
Most superstores, hardware stores and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips. You may also send off for free test strips by visiting the Water Quality and Health Council’s healthy pool page at http://www.healthypools.org/freeteststrips.
Become an Advocate by encouraging pool operators to take steps to kill germs and to then educate other swimmers about RWIs (recreational water illnesses) to promote healthy swimming.
Almost 5,000 individuals were treated in emergency departments last year alone for injuries sustained from the use of pool chemicals to protect public health. The 10-year study by the CDC highlighted the importance of getting proper training, and reading and understanding the entire product label or Safety Data Sheet. The importance of proper clothing, safety or protective eyewear and proper measurements of chemicals are discussed in the study as well.
Very recently there have been numerous news stories about electrocutions from aging rubber seals and wiring in some pools as well. It is our responsibility to make sure that our family is safe at all times. Even when we are at a location that calls for us to relax we must remain diligent in our responsibilities of proper parenting. Avoid distractions, never leave a young child unattended near water and always swim with a friend, never alone. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability, whether from a pool or even a bathtub.
When we can continually remain vigilant we can ensure that our times of fun remain, and that all may continue to enjoy Bradley County — Tennessee at its best — now and for years to come.