CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) — The Aspirus Hospital-led group ‘Safe Kids Wausau Area’ is hosting classes this summer at community pools across the area, ensuring families can soak up the sun safely.
“Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children,” according to Aspirus. “On average, more than 1,000 children die each year due to unintentional drowning.”
Most local community pools, which employ lifeguards, are beginning to open for the summer. However, when considering the amount of children lifeguards have to oversee, parents are often the best lifeguards.
Drowning is a silent killer and ‘Safe Kids’ say it is important for parents of small children to keep them within arm’s reach while in the water.
“Drownings are really quiet: Kids aren’t splashing, they can’t splash, they can’t yell for help because there is water going in their mouth,” said Emily Loertscher of Safe Kids Wausau Area.
Water safety — whether at the pool or on the river — is crucial, and getting the little ones used to wearing a life jacket is important to building healthy habits.
“It’s kind of like a seat belt. If you wear a seat belt all your life and don’t one day, it kind of feels weird not having one on. So, starting them out young with that life jacket and always fitting it properly,” said Loertscher.
Safe Kids say a good rule for proper life jacket fit is to tighten it up, then pull up on the shoulder straps to make sure the jacket doesn’t go over the top of their ears.
This weekend, Safe Kids Wausau Area will be at Weston Aquatic Center and will be at Memorial Pool in Wausau June 15 for an event called ‘Splash into Safety.’ All participating children will receive a free life jacket.
Pre-registration is required, and can be secured by calling 715.847.2380.
For more information and resources visit their website here.