Palm Coast - Florida is one of two states that lead the nation with at least 21 fatal child drownings last summer, according to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and USA Swimming Foundation. About ten people die every day from unintentional drowning and of these, two will be children age 14 or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These statistics are why it is important to recognize water danger to keep everyone safe while enjoying the beaches, parks, pools and anywhere that a body of water is present.
Ahead of Flagler County's last day of school on May 30, Palm Coast Parks & Recreation is hosting its annual Pool Safety Day on Saturday, May 25 from 1-4 p.m. It's an event designed to teach the importance and seriousness of safety, but while having fun and participating in activities that children will remember. Pool Safety Day will be held at the Palm Coast Aquatics Center, 339 Parkview Drive, and is open to all ages. This also happens to be taking place at the start of Memorial Day weekend, a time when many enjoy being out in the sun and splashing in the water as summer approaches.
"Here at the Palm Coast Aquatics Center, safety is our number one priority," said James Hirst, Aquatics Supervisor of Parks & Recreation. "We find fun, interactive ways to get our safety messages across while ensuring the whole family is having an enjoyable time."
At the event, certified pool staff will lead activities to teach safety in and around the pool. Activities will include pool games such as the key log roller and kayak races, mini learn-to-swim classes and water safety information. Participants will also watch life safety staff demonstrate water rescues. The fee is $1 for seniors and youth age 17 and under. It is $2 for adults. Below is the event timeline.
1:15 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Swim Lessons - First 20 Children
1:45 p.m.-2 p.m. Beach Safety
2 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Log Rolling
2 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Whale Tales Activities
2:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Kayak Races/Lifejacket Safety
3:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Demonstration of Rescue with Fire Department
Parents are cautioned about water safety every year, but drownings still occur. The following are tips from the National Safety Council and the CPSC.
- Never leave your child alone; if you have to leave, take your child with you.
- Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child (keep in mind lessons do not make your child "drown-proof").
- Lifeguards aren't babysitters; always keep your eyes on your child.
- Don't let children play around drains and suction fittings.
- Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts handy.
- Get training in CPR.
- If a child is missing, check the water first.
- Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas.
- Designate an adult Water Watcher to supervise children at all times around the water.
- Ensure any pool or spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards. If you do not know, ask your pool service provider about safer drain covers.