NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – From the Hudson River to Long Island Sound and Jersey Shore, many of will spend part of the holiday weekend on the water.
It’s also the time of year when many find danger at the beach or the pool. Experts say have fun, but stay smart.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday, our part of the world is blessed with easy access to water – from the Atlantic ocean to backyard pools.
That’s one reason Westchester County pediatrician Rebekka Levis talks water safety with her little patients and their parents.
“Top of my list is that supervision is key to preventing drowning,” she said. “So parents should really not rely on solely the lifeguard, but should also be supervising their children at the pool.”
She urges parents to only use Coast Guard-approved life vests, rather than simple inflatable swim aides.
“Swimmies and floaties can provide a false sense of security, and they do not take the place of appropriate supervision in the pool,” she said.
“Some pools don’t allow them, because of that,” said parent Danielle Gammarati. “And they feel that parents will then wander, thinking that their child is safe with the swimmies on.”
Friday’s rescue of young teens in the water off Long Beach is a reminder that even some older kids don’t swim well. With the adolescent brain wired to take chances, a water safety reminder is a good way to start the summer, as are swim lessons for older kids who didn’t have the opportunity earlier in life.
On Atlantic Coast beaches, rip currents are always a risk. So listen to lifeguards, don’t take chances and don’t fight the rip current if you are caught in one.
“You should teach children to swim parallel to the shore until they get out of the rip current and then towards the shore,” Levis said. “And don’t panic – that is key.”
Water safety should never take a holiday.