"[The] most important [safety measure] is to teach your kids how to swim or to sign them up for swim lessons because they really need to learn how to swim," said Kristin Strickland, aquatics coordinator for the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department. "If they learn how to swim then they're less likely to have a water emergency. I'm not saying that it won't occur but they're less likely to have one at the pool.
"They are more likely to be able to get themselves to safety ... We opened our pools this weekend and we've already had two saves in the water because of people that didn't know how to swim and [they] came to the pool and just jumped in water that was over their head. Then they couldn't make it over to the side. It's pretty common out here at our pools [that] we usually have about anywhere between 20 to 25 saves a season but two the first weekend that we first opened is kind of a lot for us."
With May being designated as National Water Safety Month, Strickland encourages adults to prepare youths with appropriate tools to help them avoid serious injury. Along with helping them learn how to swim, parents should supervise youths 12 and younger at the pool, review the posted pool rules with their children and, if needed, equip them with U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets instead of foam or air-filled toys.
On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a variety of preventative measures concerning skin cancer, heat stress, and water-related injuries and illnesses. According to www.cdc.gov, "Healthy swimming behaviors will help protect you and your kids from recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place ... [to] keep germs from causing recreational water illnesses (RWIs):
* Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
* Don't swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
* Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water."
In addition to routinely taking their young children on restroom breaks, the CDC advises parents to bathe youths prior to swimming and not to change diapers poolside.
With the city's swimming season in full swing, individual pool passes costing $40 each can be purchased at the Dellinger Park Office. Family passes also are available for $100, which will cover up to four people, after which each additional person will be charged $20. With only 250 passes available, seasonal passes will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Daily admission is $3 for ages 13 to adult, $2 for ages 5 to 12 and no charge for 4 and younger.
The pools' schedules are:
* Dellinger Park at 100 Pine Grove Road: Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. The pool will be open only on weekends from Aug. 4 to Sept. 5.
* Aubrey Street at 135 Aubrey St.: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. The site will close Aug. 2.
In addition to passes, registration also is under way at the Dellinger Park Office for upcoming swimming lessons. The next two-week-session starts June 7. Open for 6-month-olds to adults, each session will be $50 per person. More than 110 people are enrolled in four classes that started Monday.
For more information about the city's swimming lessons or pool passes, call the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department at 770-387-5626 or visit www.cityofcartersville.org/index.aspx?NID=69. Safety tips relating to residential pools can be found at www.watersafetymonth.org.