To finish up our water safety chat, let’s look at a few insider safety tips that come from experts on both sides of water incidents, firefighters Gerald Little and Meric Tendrich, both part of our MDFR dive team, the largest dive rescue program in the world. Additionally they have operated the Little Swimmers swim school since 1996 and have trained thousands of kids to swim. Because of their unique perspective we should take a good look at their safety suggestions.
SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE
• You must provide supervision for your child. Sure, others can help, but make your kid your business.
• Kids are experts at finding water. Be aware of your surroundings. They’ll find it at any place, at any time of the day or night, at any function.
• Remove all toys from the pool; they are like magnets when kids see them.
• Learn CPR and call 911 quickly. The American Heart Association’s new guidelines are easy and are real life savers. If a tragedy occurs, together we can do something about it. Look up “easy hands only CPR” at Heart.org.
A child does not know how to swim if they are using floats, water wings, a life jacket, etc. Many parents have a misconception that because kids enjoy the water when they are wearing those devices they think they can swim. However, kids actually won’t know what to do in the water when they are not wearing those aids.
Swimming is a lifelong skill. We owe it to our kids to teach them or give them training that will save their lives and provide fun for a lifetime.
In closing, Little and Tendrich repeatedly voice this key rule: Most drowning deaths are preventable! Years of training and emergency calls sadly remind us of that.
Parents, please do your part with young children: Teach them how to swim and get them swimming!
Capt. Jack Swerdloff is a South Dade EMS Supervisor with the Miami Dade Firefighters. He is a frequent contributor to this newspaper and be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.