With the arrival of Arizona’s triple digit summer heat, backyard and community pools will be getting a lot of use. As a result, the Valley of the Sun JCC (The J) is urging parents to be vigilant about water safety.
“Pools are an inviting oasis in our hot summers and the best way to enjoy the water, especially for children, is to be water safe and learn to swim,” said Debbie Meek, aquatics director and certified swim instructor at The J. “Infants as young as six months can learn to swim.”
Meek cautions parents against the use of water wings and floaties. She believes these items can instill a false sense of security in parents that their children are safe in the water. But Meek warns that these items can easily slip off or tip over.
“Despite what we see in the movies, drowning most often occurs with a silent slip under the water, not a lot of splashing and screaming,” Meek said. “By the time parents notice that a child has gone under, it may be too late.”
A dedicated masters swimmer herself, Meek believes swimming is an important life skill that not only helps to prevent drowning, but is also an excellent form of exercise that is easy on the body and beats the summer heat.
The J offers private and group swim lessons for all ages and abilities, including infants who are at least 6 months of age.
“Whether you learn to swim here in our pool or elsewhere, the important thing is to learn to swim and make sure your children and loved ones know how to swim and to be safe around water,” said Meek.
Here are seven water safety tips:
• Teach children to swim as early as possible.
• Supervise children near water – don’t turn your back, not even for a second.
• Secure doors and gates around pools. • Keep tables and chairs away from pool fences.
• Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with gates and floaties – there is no substitute for adult supervision.
• Never leave toys or floats in and around pools.
• Know CPR.
To learn more about swim lessons and programs at The J, visit vosjcc.org/swim.