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Public Health - Seattle & King County

April Pools Day highlights fun and water safety

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Know the water, know your limits, wear a lifejacket

KING COUNTY, WA — Get ready for a safe and active summer on the water at April Pools Day on Saturday, April 21. Twenty-two pools in King County and across the state will hold free events where children and families can learn important water safety skills, while enjoying free swim time and games.

"Water sports are a great way to have fun and be physically active," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Heath – Seattle & King County. "But please stay safe. That means closely supervising children, wearing a life jacket and avoiding the deadly mix of alcohol, drugs, and water activities."

"Research has shown that learning to swim is an important skill to help prevent drowning and that it's great exercise, as well," adds Elizabeth Bennett, Advocacy Director for Seattle Children's Hospital. "April Pools Day is a perfect time to visit your local pool and have fun as a family. You can also find out about water recreation programs and swim lessons, including scholarships that may be available so that all children can learn to swim."

"April Pools Day is a wonderful family activity in your local community. You can learn to be safe in and around the water, indoors or out!" says Amy Collins, Aquatics Assistant Supervisor with Lynnwood Parks and Recreation. "We hope parents and their children will learn important life-long water safety skills and be better prepared for the upcoming warm weather season, when drowning happens most often."

During April Pools Day, families will have the opportunity to learn drowning prevention strategies, proper lifejacket fitting and use, basic self-help skills, and rescue techniques in a water emergency. Local events will be held in Bellevue, Covington, Enumclaw, Everett, Federal Way (4/22), Seattle and Tukwila. For a schedule of events, please call Amy Collins at 425-670-5521 or visit www.seattlechildrens.org/pdf/april-pools-day-event-listing-2012.pdf. Find coupons for a discount on a variety of lifejackets at Big 5 Sporting Goods at www.seattlechildrens.org/dp.

Water safety tips:

  • Make sure all family members know how to swim.
  • Always wear a lifejacket when boating in lakes, rivers or Puget Sound.
  • It's best to swim only in designated areas with lifeguards. If that is not possible, wear a lifejacket.
  • Be especially careful when swimming, boating, tubing, or rafting in rivers due to dangers from currents and cold temperatures. The best decision may be not to enter the water.
  • Have infants and children wear a lifejacket when in or near open water.
  • Supervise children and teens when they are in or near all types of water. Ensure supervisors are close enough to provide immediate rescue to children.
  • Do not drink alcohol when swimming, boating, or supervising children.
  • Learn CPR.

Drowning facts:

  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and teens in Washington.
  • The populations at highest risk for drowning are young children under the age of five, males (especially those between 15-24 years and those 65 years and older), people with seizure disorders, and people who cannot swim.
  • In 2009, there were 103 unintentional drowning deaths in Washington. Fourteen of these drowning deaths were children younger than 18.

April Pools Day is presented by Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Drowning Prevention Network of Washington State, Washington Parks and Recreation Association, Seattle Children's, and Safe Kids Seattle. The annual event gives families and others a chance to safely prepare for the wide variety of water-related recreation available in Washington.

Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health — Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.