Pool safety: Floaties on, eyes open

Pool safety: Floaties on, eyes open
Rachel Ortegon
Rachel Ortegon

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Warmer days are giving reasons for parents to take their children to public pools to cool off, places like the YMCA expect to see tons of more traffic in the coming weeks.

The Albany YMCA aquatics director, Rachel Ortegon, says parents want to know the number of lifeguards provided and if they are certified.
Ortegon says all their guards are certified and she makes sure there is one life guard for every 30 children. 

The sports center's Olympic sized pool begins roughly at four feet gradually getting deeper to 12 feet.

Staff members say its important each swimmer knows what they are capable of.

"Just because they can swim 10 feet doesn't mean they can make it 25, so typically what we do is if they can swim but can't make it a certain distance is we put life jackets on them," said Ortegon. "Now, the kids hate it but because they say they can swim but its how far they can swim."

If you are at home there are other safety measures to consider. Ortegon says always have someone on standby.

"It's unfortunate that we saw a drowning in Fitzgerald last Sunday. It was a three year old in the backyard with his family, so please make sure you have your eyes on your kids, make sure they have a buddy. Don't ever let them go by themselves," continued Ortegon.

For extra protection parents can install a pool cover that enables the user to lock the pool area. Also, gates to the pool should also be locked when not in use.

A pool safety kit can also come in handy, it should include: a pair of scissors to cut clothing or cover, first aid and a flotation device.

Ortega says the YMCA also teaches swim classes for children six months and older all summer long. The aquatics center is also looking for additional lifeguards to handle the season rush.

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