As we close in on Memorial Day weekend, many of Rockland and Westchester County’s public pools, beaches and lakes will soon open for their summer season. This is an exciting time of year, especially for young children beginning their summer vacation. Enjoying time in the water is a wonderful way for families to spend time together in the Hudson Valley, whether that time is spent at a municipal pool, or in a county park with beaches on Long Island sound. To see a full list of opening dates for public pools and beaches in Rockland and Westchester Counties, click here.
However, with all the fun and relaxation that accompanies a trip to the beach or pool, it is vital to remember the importance of water safety, especially for children. Lifeguards all over the Hudson Valley are currently training and renewing their CPR certifications to prepare for the local swim season. There are dedicated and highly-trained lifeguards to keep public pools safe, but experts warn that it is the unguarded swimming locations that should be of more concern to parents and guardians this summer.
The lakes, rivers and natural bodies of water of the Hudson Valley are one of the more beautiful aspects of living here, but areas such as these can also contain hidden dangers for swimmers. Westchester County’s Assistant Health Commissioner reminds us that “statistics show that the lakes and rivers and natural bodies of water are more dangerous in general because of hidden currents, [and] lack of water clarity.” These bodies of water present the most clear and present danger to proper water safety, especially for younger or inexperienced swimmers.
Here are some statistics that serve as a reminder of what can go wrong when young, inexperienced or negligent swimmers are left unsupervised:
• In Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties, at least six people drowned in 2014.
• Five of the six victims died in either lakes or in the Hudson River. The sixth died in an unsupervised backyard pool.
• In 2014, no one was fatally injured in a public pool or beach where a lifeguard was present.
The greatest risk for parents of young children is allowing young swimmers to slip out of sight, even for a moment. All it takes is one brief lapse in supervision for a dangerous accident to occur.
Here are some important safety tips for both experienced and novice swimmers to keep in mind this summer:
• Never swim alone: Assign young swimmers a buddy at the pool or beach and teach them to be accountable for their buddy at all times.
• Teach your children to swim in a controlled environment: Providing a safe atmosphere where children can learn the basics of pool and water safety will help them immensely when it is time to swim with friends or family. If your child is returning to the water for the first time this summer, have them take a refresher course at your local YMCA or municipal pool.
• Always supervise: Never assume that your child or a group of young swimmers will be fine without you. Emergencies can arise in the blink of an eye, and a split-second difference in response time can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
• Secure your backyard pool: If you own your own below or above ground pool, you almost certainly take a great deal of pride in its appearance and upkeep. Make pool and child safety part of your upkeep checklist, and make sure that young children cannot enter the pool unattended.
• Keep a flotation device nearby: A lifejacket, life preserver or other Personalized Flotation Device (PFD) can be an easy and quick response in an emergency. Keep a flotation device on hand so that young swimmers have something to grab on to while you determine the best way to help.
Visit the New York Parks Swim Safe page for more tips and resources on proper water safety this summer.
At Fellows Hymowitz Rice, New York and New Jersey Personal Injury law firm, we want everyone to have a safe, healthy and happy summer. The most important part of enjoying time away from school or the office is to stay safe, so follow these helpful tips as you and your family return to New York’s wonderful lakes, beaches and pools.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident by negligence, you will most likely have a great deal of questions about your case. The Accident and Injury attorneys of Fellows Hymowitz Rice have the knowledge and experience to provide the answers you seek. When you trust Fellows Hymowitz Rice to represent you, you will benefit from our years of dedicated and compassionate service to our clients.
Call 845-639-9300 today to receive a FREE, confidential and no-obligation consultation. When you call, you will speak with an experienced Personal Injury attorney. Our lawyers have years of experience recovering compensation for serious injuries caused by the negligence of others. Let our legal team go to work to represent your rights to the fullest.
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