At Ocaquatics Safety is our #1 priority. Our mission is to teach families to love swimming and to become SAFER, more comfortable and responsible in, on and around the water. Unfortunately, during this complicated time of COVID-19 isolation, accidents around the water continue to be a problem that we must protect our families from. Spring has arrived and usually this is a time when our children are anticipating going to the beach and having fun in the pool. Instead they find themselves at home 24/7, and they are quickly becoming restless.
On March 13th, 2020 Florida public schools closed as a precaution in response to the spread of Covid-19. Children throughout the state are staying home all day for days on end, searching for ways to entertain themselves. Since there are so many bodies of water and residential pools in South Florida, some children are getting creative in finding ways to go swimming when they are not supposed to be swimming. As a result there has been an increase in the number of aquatics incidents in South Florida since schools closed. With all the media focusing on the latest COVID-19 updates, many parents do not know about this development and about the risks posed to their families. We implore our families to practice water safety especially supervising their children around the water to keep them SAFER.
Ocaquatics supports and promotes Stop Drowning Now (SDN), a non-profit that has been spreading drowning prevention education since 2004, and we have adopted their SAFER 3 message. This advice will help everyone keep their children SAFER year-round, but we all need reminders during this time.
SAFER Water: If you have a pool at home, take the precautions necessary installing barriers, fences, and set alarms. Make sure that these barriers are intact, your fences and doors are closed, and that any alarms that you have installed around your pool, barrier, or doors are on and in working order. It is important to have these security measures in place, and to check on them often as they may fail.
SAFER People: Not even the best swimmers in the world are immune to drowning. No matter how old your child is or how competent a swimmer they are, they should not be left unsupervised in and around the water. During these times, when children are home all day, it is important to supervise them even when your family is not going swimming as well, to ensure that children do not get in or approach water without an adult knowing.
This is a great opportunity to practice the children’s swimming skills as well! Whether your family has a pool at home or not, check out our new Ocaquatics Online School for exercises that you can practice in the pool, in the tub, or even sitting on the couch! This way the children will keep their skills sharp, and they will stay active and entertained.
SAFER Response: Once you have taken every precaution you can to reduce the risk of accidents, it is still important to know what to do in the case that an emergency happens. No matter the measures taken, we are never 100% water-safe or drown proof, we are only SAFER.
This is a perfect opportunity to learn CPR and set an emergency action plan. Once the children have finished their homework you can even have the whole family practice the emergency action plan and discuss how everyone should react when faced with emergency situations.
Feel free to visit our Ocaquatics Online School for more water safety information and more advice on keeping our children SAFER around the water as well! Visit us on social media for an important message about Water Safety from our director Miren Oca, and share this message with any friends or family that have a pool at home. Let’s take care of each other, and let’s continue to take water safety precautions during these tough times.