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Pool Safety: Water Wise Program 2016

Posted by Communications Department on Friday, July 1, 2016

Fun, sun and safety: HAA’s 2016 Water Wise Program 

By Sidney Phillips, HAA Intern 

Many Houstonians will be grabbing their bathing suits and sunscreen to the beach, lake or local swimming pool this summer. However, a fun day in the water can turn into an absolute tragedy for many parents of young children.  

Drowning rates typically increase around Independence Day weekend. So before children begin jumping or cannonballing into community pools, it’s important that apartment owners, apartment managers and parents stay vigilant and educate children on proper pool safety. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, unintentional drowning claims the lives of an estimated 3.882 people each year in the United States, averaging 10 deaths per day.  Young children are at the greatest risk of drowning, as it remains the second leading cause of death among ages 1-14 years old.  Not to mention, for every one child that dies from drowning, another five require emergency room care.   

In Texas, 51 children have already drowned this year with 11 fatalities in the Greater Houston Area alone.  To combat the threat of drowning accidents, the Houston Apartment Association has maintained a 10 year partnership with the YMCA to create the Water Wise Program.  The initiative provides free swimming lessons to children in participating Houston area apartments, and works to educate parents of proper safety precautions.   

Thanks to the generosity of member communities, over the past nine years, the program has taught swimming lessons to over 9,000 children, free of charge.  This year HAA hopes to reach another 1,000 kids, across 80 different locations.   

For more information about the Water Wise program, visit https://www.haaonline.org/splashprogram/. To prevent drowning accidents in your family or community be sure to follow these safety tips:  

Water Safety Tips 

Never leave children near water without adult supervision. 

Do not allow children to swim alone. 

Children should always be within an arm’s distance of a supervising adult in the water. 

Assign an adult as “water watcher” – the person committed to supervising the pool area. 

Paddling pools are just as dangerous – a single inch of water covering a child’s mouth and nose can cause drowning. 

Enroll children in swim lessons. 

Learn CPR. 

Always secure access to swimming pools. All apartment pools have fences and self-closing and latching gates preventing children from entering the pool area unattended – notify management immediately if they are not in a working order. 

Learn how to use the safety devices – all apartment pools are equipped devices intended to prevent death or injury. These items include drain covers, a shepherd’s hook and a reaching pole, a throwing rope and a ring buoy. If any of these devices are missing or in disrepair, please notify management immediately. 

Be a good neighbor, if you see any unattended children at the community pool, urge them to leave the pool area and report the incident to the manager immediately. 

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