With warm weather approaching and the Plateau and Northwest filled with pools, lakes and rivers for cooling off, the city of Enumclaw Aquatic Center will join other organizations across the nation in an effort to teach everyone, especially children, water safety by hosting April Pool’s Day.
The free event is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. April 17 at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center. The day is filled with activities and demonstrations to help make summer safe.
“Know the water; know your limits; wear a life jacket, that’s what April Pool’s Day is all about,” said Kristin Munnell, city of Enumclaw aquatics coordinator.
According to statistics from Seattle Children’s and public health, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years old in the United States. It is also the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death for children in Washington state. An average of 27 people younger than 18 drown each year in Washington. Childhood drowning rates are highest for youth ages 15 to 17 years old followed by children ages 1 to 4 years. Drowning of children younger than 5 most often occurs in swimming pools and bathtubs.
Thanks to sponsors like Seattle Children’s, American Red Cross and the U.S. Coast Guard, the event is free to give everyone access to the free safety information and skills offered.
Munnell is also hoping to have local police, fire and emergency medical responders on hand as well.
The afternoon concludes with a free public swim for participants and a free Mustang lifejacket giveaway to a drawing winner.
In addition, the Enumclaw High girls water polo team will play Gig Harbor from noon to 2 p.m. Admission will be free.
• Know your limits – Drowning often happens when someone swims and gets too tired. Ways to be safe: take swim lessons, learn to float and tread water, swim in lifeguarded areas, have parental/adult supervision and avoid swimming while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
• Know the water – Washington’s lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in the summer and even among the strongest swimmers. Ways to stay safe: wear a lifejacket, avoid swimming or boating in high running water, check water conditions, never dive or jump into unfamiliar
or shallow water, and swim in designated areas only.
• Wear a lifejacket – 75 percent of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim was wearing a lifejacket. People tend to drown in silence and without attracting attention. Their struggle to breathe and stay afloat rarely enables them to wave their arms or call for help. Also, Washington state law requires children 12 and younger to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or life vest on vessels less than 19 feet long.