Program teaches pool safety

Published 8:46 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today is the last day of school for thousands of children in Suffolk, and there’s no doubt those children and their parents are looking forward to a little summer vacation.

Of course, by the time Labor Day rolls around, many of those parents will have filled their wall calendar with red X’s, marking off the days until school starts again.

Summer is a fabulous time for families, but it brings a host of potential dangers that aren’t present during the rest of the year. Unfortunately, the national news as of late has reminded us all of some of these dangers.

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Primary among those is the danger of being around water, especially swimming pools and vacations at the lake or the oceanfront. Even if there’s no wildlife lurking in the water (and you should always assume there is, except in the case of well-maintained swimming pools), the danger of drowning is very real.

Some people might think considering these dangers and taking some precautions will put a damper on their vacation, but if you can manage to avoid injury or tragedy among your family and friends, it will be well worth it.

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office and Suffolk Family YMCA partnered up the past few weeks to remind kids and parents of these dangers before they are released for the summer. The federally funded PoolSafely program was presented to students in after-school care at several schools.

Kids learned about the rules of safety in swimming pools and spas, some of which are general rules for any body of water (like never leaving a child unattended in or near the water, making sure children know how to swim and getting trained on performing CPR).

The children also learned how to tell the difference between a safe drain cover, which is domed to prevent sucking part of a swimmer’s body against it and trapping them underwater, and an unsafe drain cover. Kids also took a pledge to be safe around the water.

We will, of course, never know if this program saved a life, because there will be no press release, no funeral, no grieving family. There will be a child who returns to school in the fall with her friends, grows up, gets married and has kids of his own.

Any child’s life saved makes the entire program worthwhile. Good job to the sheriff’s office and the YMCA for bringing this program to as many kids as possible this year.