Central Florida Lifestyle Publications: The Gift of Swimming (7-1-11)

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Summer, the time of year when Florida’s children are at highest risk for drowning, is here. Richard Schwamm, senior partner with the Orlando law office of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, is a board member of the Children’s Safety Village and is actively involved with organizations such as The Gift of Swimming to raise awareness of key issues affecting children’s safety in the community and to ensure that children have safe places to play and grow.

Together with The Gift of Swimming, Schwamm provides the following list of the five most important swimming tips to help ensure a safe summer:

1. Parents should know their legal responsibilities under Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool law. A residential swimming pool must meet at least one of the following requirements relating to pool safety features: A pool barrier must completely surround the swimming pool and meet state requirements, e.g. at least four (4) feet high; the pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover; all doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm; or, doors providing direct access must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device.

2. Parents should have their pool/spa drains inspected regularly. Drains with suction problems can trap swimmers – particularly those with long hair – and can cause death.

3. All children should be taught, at the youngest-possible age, to swim.

4. Children should never swim without the supervision of an adult. Children should not be given the responsibility to supervise other children.

5. Develop a swimming pool rules sign for your home and place it in a location that’s easy for visiting parents and children to see. The list should include: Adults must supervise children, Swim with a buddy, No diving; Enter water feet first, Apply sunscreen.

For more information on the Gift of Swimming program, and how to donate, visit www.giftofswimming.org, call 407-905-0999 or e-mail info@giftofswimming.org.