I'm a pretty passionate person when it comes to faith, family, friends, food, and my kids' safety.
I inherited this trait from my awesome mom. She was always very concerned about our safety as we were growing up. I used to joke that she wouldn't even let us cross our street without her. Our street was a cul-de-sac :-). Love you Mom! Thank you for keeping us safe!
One area of particular concern for me is water safety. When you live in a state like Florida, even if you don't have a pool it's very likely that your next-door neighbor will. Plus, with all of the lakes, canals and retention ponds there's water, water everywhere.
We had a pool when I was growing up. My parents were adamant about having a pool alarm and making sure that all of us kids and our friends knew how to swim well. I even took a lifeguarding class as a high school student. The stories and some of the images that we saw in that class changed the way I will view water safety forever.
As a mom of six kids, I was hesitant to get a pool. However, living in Florida the summers are hotter than blazes, and when you don't have access to a pool it can be maddening. We tried the whole "get wet in the backyard hose" deal. The heat made our garden hose shrivel up and die. Steam came out instead of water ;-). So, six years ago we had a pool put into our backyard.
Before we even planned our pool design, we knew we needed to have several layers of protection for our children. The first layer included taking them to the Safe Start drowning prevention classes (http://safestartusa.org). I swear by these classes! The instructors helped my children learn that if they fell into the water they could turn over on their backs, get to the side of the pool, and make a lot of attention getting noise in the process. Great program! Refresher courses are vital as the kids grow.
The second layer of protection included a pool gate that surrounded our pool and hot tub. The gate remained shut at all times with the exception of entering and exiting the pool area. I know this may sound harsh, but if one of the older monkeys forgot to close the gate for any reason, they would lose a privilege. Someone drowning is a mistake that can not be fixed.
The third layer of protection was "The Safety Turtle"(http://www.safetyturtle.com). This is a super cute wrist band for little monkeys or pets that triggers a VERY loud alarm if it gets wet. Our Little Monkey loves wearing it (especially now that we do not have a pool gate at our new house).
The fourth and final layer of protection includes elimination of distractions. Whenever our youngest monkey is in the pool, I do not answer the phone (text, email) or the door, or the call of my bladder until he is out of the pool and safely back inside. I may snap a picture or two, but I always make sure that my eyes are on him. It only takes two minutes for someone to drown. And there is something called secondary drowning (also known as respiratory aspiration) that can occur in a matter of seconds. I read this article this week and it really made me stop and think:
So my friends, I would like to hear your suggestions/ideas for water safety. In my opinion, you can never have too many layers of protection.