Youngstown expert stresses water safety at pools, public beaches

Local News

Wherever you choose to swim, Hughes said supervision should be the number one priority

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Staying cool might look a bit different in Ohio this summer. Even though pools are approved to open in the state on Tuesday, some might still want to get their own pools or visit public beaches for more space.

“I believe that people may be concerned about being in large crowds. They may be purchasing their own pool at home or using portable pools in their backyards as a way to still have fun and swim this summer, or possibly going to open water wherever they might be able to swim,” said Chris Hughes, senior aquatic director at YMCA of Youngstown.

Wherever you choose, Hughes said supervision should be the number one priority.

“Backyard pools and beaches in Ohio, most aren’t life-guarded. They don’t have people who are trained to rescue you in water available,” Hughes said.

That might be different than some families are used to, but Hughes said it’s important to remember your child’s ability. Can they swim the length of a pool both ways without stopping?

“If they don’t have the stamina to do that, they should be within arms-length of an adult. They should be in water where they can touch. They should be either one-on-one with an adult or wearing a Coast Guard-approved flotation device,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the best flotation device is a classic life jacket. She said make sure the life jacket is tight and the right size.

She also wants to remind people not to confuse safety with fun.

“Inner tubes, noodles, those are toys. Those are not flotation devices that can service as a swim aid,” Hughes said.

Even with an approved flotation device, supervision is still absolutely necessary.

“The majority of drownings happen with youth-age children and teenagers who maybe aren’t being supervised by adults,” Hughes said.

In most cases, she said drownings are silent.

“That’s why it’s important for parents to keep an eye on their kids because they’re not going to hear the trouble when they’re drowning. They’re already underwater and it’s too late. You have to keep an eye on them all the time.”

You can find more water safety tips on the YMCA of Youngstown’s website or their Facebook page.

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