Summer is supposed to be fun. To keep it that way Westchester has many programs designed to prevent tragic accidents and illnesses on holiday weekends as well as every day of the year.
Whether you're watching fireworks or enjoying a summer night, whether your are in your backyard barbecuing, in a car, in a swimming pool or in a boat, there are things to do (and not do) to protect yourself and your family.
If you have a pool, the county urges you to install a pool alarm that will sound when someone enters the pool. New York State requires pool alarms for new or remodeled swimming pools, but Westchester County and several pool associations believe this potentially life-saving device should be installed by all pool owners.
Pool owners should also understand the new federal safety standards aimed at preventing children from being trapped by powerful pool drains.
Portable and inflatable pools also pose risks to unattended children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 47 drowning deaths between 2004-2006 involved inflatable pools. Because portable, inflatable pools are often soft-sided, a child leaning on the side of such a pool can easily tumble head first into the pool and be unable to right him or herself.
Although portable and inflatable pools carry warning labels, the focus of these labels is to warn against diving into the pools and tripping over pool attachments, rather than on the serious drowning hazard that they pose to children. So be sure your swimming pool is safe.
The water in inflatable pools and other containers such as bird baths and flower pots should be refreshed frequently to prevent the spread of West Nile virus. Everyone should routinely dump out standing water from any containers throughout the spring and summer.
At the start of the swimming season, the county Department of Health inspects all 600 public pools and beaches in the county. The county also trains more than 260 camp operators in aquatic safety and other health issues at a Children’s Camp Operator’s Workshop each year prior to summer camp season. About 80,000 children attend summer camps in Westchester. Read about recreational water illnesses and tips on keeping your children healthy at pools and beaches.
Remember that hurricane season begins in the summer, so be prepared.