WHITE PLAINS, NY -- As the Westchester County pools will open for the season on Friday, County Executive Robert P. Astorino and Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, share water safety tips for residents and their families.
“Westchester County pools and beaches are staffed with trained lifeguards, but parents and guardians are the first line of defense for swim safety,” Astorino said. “Please watch your children when they are in or near the water, make sure they never swim alone and only swim a when a lifeguard is on duty.”
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury or death among children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second leading cause among children ages 5 to 9 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Westchester County’s Learn-to-Swim program is offered throughout the county at Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Playland Pool in Rye and Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains. For more information and to register for the program, go to westchestergov.com/parks. Swimming lessons are also offered at many YMCAs and at municipal pools.
“It’s also critical to always stay within arm’s reach of infants and toddlers in the water and to always keep your eyes on children playing in or near the shore,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health. “Pool floats, inner tubes, water wings and noodles are no substitute for close supervision. Swimming and alcohol, just like boating and alcohol, don’t mix.”
The county beaches, which opened on May 28 on a weekends-only schedule, will begin a full summer schedules on Friday as well. Beach goers should always take precautions to stay hydrated and protect their skin from the effects of the summer sun and from mosquitoes. To avoid mosquito bites, apply sunscreen first and EPA-registered insect repellent second.
“Be sure you and your family drink lots of water throughout the day at the pool or beach to avoid heat exhaustion,” said Amler. “Wear a hat and sunglasses, avoid the midday sun and reapply broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every two hours, especially after you swim or sweat, to avoid sunburn.”
More summer safety tips from the Westchester County Department of Health:
· Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
· Never to swim alone.
· Don’t swim in pools or beaches that are closed.
· Always watch your children around water and never leave a child unattended.
· Designate a water watcher to supervise children as they swim. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone, or otherwise distracted.
Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.
Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Ensure that pools have drain covers that comply with the federal safety standards.
At the beach, never fight currents; swim parallel to shore and at an angle if you find yourself in a rip current.