One adult should be watching children in the pool or spa at all times. Even if there's a lifeguard. Even if the kids can swim. Pledge to use the Water Watchdog system to divide supervision responsibilities; pass on the Watchdog tags when you're ready to switch.
Never Take a Vacation from Safety
MINNEAPOLIS (Dec.18, 2015) – As winter sets in and people begin planning warm-weather getaways, Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation reminds parents to keep a watchful eye on their children while at the beach, on a cruise or staying at a resort this winter.
“Families across the country will be escaping the cold for better climates, and that means swimming and other fun water sports and activities,” said Katey Taylor, co-founder of Abbey’s Hope and mother of Abbey Taylor, who died of complications from injuries due to an improperly maintained pool drain. "Pools, spas and open bodies of water always pose a risk. Drowning or entrapment can happen in a matter of seconds. Remember to be vigilant and make sure an adult is watching children at all times. No family vacation should end in tragedy.”
Consider the following tips to help keep children safe around pools, spas and open bodies of water.
- Wear life jackets and keep proper lifesaving devices nearby. When near the water, remind children and people who have difficulty swimming to wear a life jacket at all times.
- Teach swimming and lifesaving skills – Make sure your children know how to swim, float, tread water and get in and out of the pool safely. Take classes in First Aid and CPR.
- Avoid dangerous drains- If you see a loose, missing or broken drain cover, report it to the pool operator or hotel management immediately. If a drain cover is missing or broken, do not swim in the pool until it is fixed. Even in pools with safe drains, tie up long hair or secure with a swim cap and warn children to stay away from drains or other openings.
- Be beach smart– Swimming in surf is not the same as swimming in a pool; currents can change quickly and cause fatigue in swimmers. Stay close to shore, away from piers and jetties, and know the meaning of warnings represented by colored beach flags. When in doubt, don’t go out.
- Be vigilant – Make sure an adult supervises children at the pool, spa or beach at all times.
Abbey’s Hope strongly recommends that parents share water supervision responsibilities with other parents while on vacation. To assist in this effort, the foundation created the “Water Watchdog Tag” system in which a supervising adult wears a Water Watchdog tag until he or she passes the responsibility – and tag – along to the next adult.
The adult wearing the tag pledges:
- To maintain constant visual contact with children in the designated group (even if a lifeguard is present).
- Not to drink alcohol, talk on the phone, socialize or read while watching children.
- To keep a phone near the water for emergency purposes.
- Remain by the water until relieved by a new Water Watchdog.
Those interested can go to abbeyshope.org and sign the pledge to become a Water Watchdog. With the proper education and safety precautions, parents can prevent tragedy during vacations this winter.
About Abbey’s Hope:
Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained from an improperly maintained pool drain cover.
The foundation’s goals are to:
Promote awareness of and education related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.
Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of safety standards related to such products.
Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.
Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at abbeyshope.org.