AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - As the summer quickly approaches, the City of Amarillo is encouraging everyone to practice water safety.
The City of Amarillo's Environmental Health department recognizes the month of May as national Water Safety Month, and has published the following list of tips to help everyone stay safe while enjoying the water:
1. Teach children to swim – Teaching children to swim can dramatically reduce their chances of drowning. Many local swimming pools offer learn- to-swim programs including the City of Amarillo Parks & Recreation department. Registration and class schedule may be found at amarilloparks.org or by calling the Parks & Recreation department at (806) 378-3069.
2. Never leave children unattended even if they can swim – Swimming pools and water parks can become extremely crowded and it can be easy to lose sight of a child. Be sure to maintain visual contact of your child at all times and avoid any distractions as accidents can occur in seconds.
3. Do not use pool noodles or arm floaties as a replacement for life jackets – Floating pool toys such as "water wings", pool noodles, or inner tubes are not designed to keep swimmers safe and should never be used in replacement of a life jacket.
4. Always wear a life jacket when boating – In 2009, 3,358 people were injured and 736 people died in boating incidents. Of those who drowned 9 out of 10 were not wearing life jackets.
5. Have a phone close in case of an emergency – Ensure children know how to operate the phone and know to dial 911 if needed.
6. Secure residential pools – Install fencing around residential pools with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Install alarms on all windows and doors that lead into the pool area.
7. Never swim alone – Remember the buddy system!
8. Don't forget the sunscreen – The sun's ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in a matter of minutes. Protect your skin by applying sunscreen, wear protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses, and seek shade when possible.
9. Avoid swimming while sick – Stay out of the water if you have or have had diarrhea within the last two weeks. Recreational water illnesses such as cryptosporidium, giardia, and norovirus are easily transmitted and can be spread even after symptoms subside.
10. Ensure all drain covers are secured – Loose, cracked, or missing drain covers are a risk for entrapment. Do not swim in a pool with a broken or missing drain cover and inform the pool operator of the issue immediately.