I was a bit nervous about flying after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. So, prior to my first post-attack flight, I printed the mug shots of the FBI's top 10 wanted terrorists and slipped it in my carry-on bag. (Don't laugh.)
Once I arrived at my gate, I took the paper out and began my silent interrogation of my fellow passengers. I continued to observe my flight-mates after I boarded the aircraft, with my mug shots in hand, looking for any "strange" behavior.
While I no longer carry printed mug shots along on trips, I continue to be hyper-observant in airports and on-board airplanes. I stay alert and never sleep on planes just in case I must thwart the terroristic plans of a wayward soul. (DH attempts to stay awake. This is only because I won't allow him to sleep. He is the one that will have to confront the would-be terrorists. After all, he is much taller than I am.)
I am happy and relieved to report that there has not been any illicit behavior on any flight I have been on…yet. If you ever have the pleasure of traveling with me, rest assured, I will be watching out for the safety of everyone on the flight.
This safety freakishness carries over into other areas too, especially now that I am a parent. I don't rely on doctors to ask me the right questions or give me all the information: I ask questions and do research too; I don't assume that drivers will notice the mom with a large double stroller walking behind, in front of or around their vehicles: I wait and watch for my turn to stroll by; I don't presume that the lifeguards and other parents will watch my kids in the wading pool or splash pad: I vigilantly keep an eye on them, and those around them.
That is how my brain works. I can quickly assess the problem (unsafe) areas of any location that my kids will be loose, running around and exploring, and plan accordingly. It's the analytical side of me.
Pool Safety Tips
As pool season arrives, there are numerous dangerous situations that play through my head. This year is the first year that I will have two running, jumping, splashing, swimming, exploring Darling Boys to be watching over. In one way, it will be easier for me, since I won't be toting one around on my hip. But Darling 2 is especially keen on anything to do with water, and he is fearless. Fortunately, Darling 1 is more cautious and will be watching out for Darling 2, as well.
Pool safety rules may seem like second nature (don't run, don't let your kids go in and around a pool without you, etc.), but it's a good idea to review these tips and keep them fresh in the mind. I found some great tips from the City of Republic, MO's website. The tips are simple and easily implemented:
Use Layers of Protection
To prevent swimming pool drownings, the use of layers of protection is essential. Place barriers completely around the pool, closely supervise young children and be prepared in case of emergency.
- If a child is missing, always look first in the pool. Seconds count!
- Knowing how to swim doesn't make a child drown-proof.
- Never use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
- Keep rescue equipment, such as a shepherd's hook, and a phone next to the pool.
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Install physical barriers around the pool to limit access.
- Fences and walls should be at least 4-feet high and installed completely around the pool.
- Gates should be self-closing and self-latching.
- The latch should be out of reach of small children.
- If your house forms one side of the barrier for the pool, doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that sound when the doors are unexpectedly opened. Or, use a power safety cover, a motor-powered barrier placed over the water area, to prevent access by young children.
- For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.
Pool and Spa Entrapment Dangers
- Never use a pool or spa with a missing or broken drain cover. Be sure a newer, safer drain cover is in place. The new drain covers are usually domed-shaped– instead of the old flat drain covers.
- Consider installing a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), a device that will automatically shut off a pump if a blockage is detected.
- Have a professional regularly inspect your pool or spa for entrapment or entanglement hazards.
- Plainly mark the location of the electrical cut-off switch for the pool or spa pump.
- If someone is entrapped against a drain, cut off the pump immediately. Instead of trying to pull the person away from the powerful suction, pry a hand between the drain and the person's body to break the seal.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has traditionally stated that swimming lessons for children under the age of 4 years is not recommended. However, the AAP has now issued new safety guidelines stating swimming lessons may help prevent drowning in some children ages 1 to 4, but that it's up to a parent to decide whether his or her child is physically and emotionally ready to learn. The AAP further reminds that teaching a child to swim does not mean a child is "drown-proof." Here are a few additional pool safety tips from the AAP:
A swimming pool can be very dangerous for children. If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following:
Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.
Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
These three websites provide a wealth of information on pool safety from how to prevent a child from drowning to chemicals levels in water to swim lessons to anti-entrapment device standards:
- ABC Pool Safety: http://www.abcpoolsafety.org/
- Water Quality & Health Council: http://www.waterandhealth.org/pool_spa/index.html
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.poolsafety.gov/
The bottom line is to keep your eyes on your children when they are swimming and stay close. Don't get distracted by your iPhone or Blackberry, chatting with friends, preparing a meal, etc. If you have pool at your home, put up barriers, locking gates and consider having a motorized cover over the pool. Do you have a pool or access to a pool? What precautions have you taken? Do your kids know your rules for being around a pool, whether it is yours, a neighbors or the city's? Please leave on comment here, on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear your thoughts. On Friday, I will post a bit of Motherly Advice. Over and out…