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Sport & Health Participates in Guinness Attempt
By Dusty Smith (Ashburn Patch)
Sport & Health Participates in Guinness Attempt. Several county pools participated in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson to raise awarenessabout a leading cause of accident deaths in children 1‐5.By Dusty SmithThe official worldwide number of participants isnot yet known, but 50 Ashburn swimmers atthe Brambleton Sport & Health Clubparticipated in a coordinated attempt to breaka Guinness World Record for The World'sLargest Swimming Lesson, or WLSL.
WLSL organizers in Overland Park, Kansas,anticipated more than 30,000 kids would splashtheir way to the record, while raising awarenessthat drowning, according to the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, remains thesecond‐leading cause of accident deaths inchildren ages 1‐5.
According to the WLSL, research showsswimming lessons can reduce the risk ofdrowning by 88 percent for children ages 1‐4.
"Parents understand how important it is toprotect kids by using car seats and requiringbike helmets," said Rowdy Gaines, Olympic goldmedalist and official spokesman for the event."Someday, we hope the same will hold true forteaching kids to swim."
Gaines and gold medalist Janet Evans hopeWLSL can convey to the general public that livescan be saved through awareness and training.As parents, both athletes feel a strongcommitment to teaching children how to besafer in and around the water.
"It is so important to draw attention to thisissue, particularly at the beginning of thesummer season," said Evans.
"The World's Largest Swimming Lesson is aperfect way to bring the Swimming LessonsSave Lives message to life for kids and adults."
More than 500 aquatic facilities representing 25different countries on five continents and 46states in the United States registered toparticipate, including Sport & Health."We're looking forward to integrating ourcommunity," said Mindy Pierce, director ofprogramming with Sport & Health.
Pierce said she learned about the event onlineand registered.
Four instructors were on hand at the facility'stwo pools: Alli Hurst, Molly Booth, MichelleDePasquale and Susan Pettit.
The event grows each year. In 2011, more than20,000 swimmers participated in 13 countries,which was a 400 percent increase over theprevious year, which established the record.Below are some water safety tips offered byWorld's Largest Swimming Lesson:
Learn to swim
Swimming Lessons Save Lives.
The best thinganyone can do to stay safe in and around thewater is to learn to swim. This includes bothadults and children.
Never leave children unattended
Parents are the first line of defense in keepingkids safe in the water. Never leave childrenunattended near water, not even for a minute.If your child's in the water, you should be too!
Read all posted signs
Follow posted safety rules and warnings. Teachkids that being safe in and around the water is apersonal responsibility—yours and theirs.
Never swim alone or in unsupervised places
Teach your children to always swim with a buddy.
Wear a life jacket
If you or a family member is a weak or nonswimmer,wear a life vest. It's nothing to be
embarrassed about and many facilities provide them at no charge.
Look for lifeguards
It is always best to swim in an area supervised by lifeguards, but remember, lifeguards are the last line of defense when all other layers of protection fail.
Don't drink alcohol
Avoid alcoholic beverages before or duringswimming, boating or water‐skiing. Never drinkalcohol while supervising children aroundwater. Teach teenagers about the danger ofdrinking alcohol while swimming, boating orwater‐skiing.
Spit it out
Teach kids not to drink the pool water. Toprevent choking, never chew gum or eat whileswimming, diving or playing in water.
Avoid water wings
Do not use air‐filled swimming aids (such as"water wings") in place of life jackets or lifepreservers with children. Using air‐filledswimming aids can give parents and children afalse sense of security, which may increase therisk of drowning.
These air‐filled aids are toys and are notdesigned to be personal‐flotation devices. Afterall, air‐filled plastic tubes can deflate becausethey can become punctured or unplugged.
Check the water depth
The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet asa minimum depth for diving or jumping.
Watch out for the dangerous "toos"
Don't get too tired, too cold, too far fromsafety, exposed to too much sun or experiencetoo much strenuous activity.
Note the weather
Pay attention to local weather conditions andforecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Apply sunscreen on all exposed skin to ensuremaximum skin protection. Hats, visors andshirts are recommended to preventoverexposure.
Don't take risks
Don't take chances by overestimating yourswimming skills.
Keep toddlers in shallow play areas
Zero‐depth entry pools have water games,sprays and fountains with no appreciable waterdepth.
Follow age and height instructions atwaterparks
Restrictions apply to many rides in a waterpark.Size and coordination is critical to safety insideopen water flumes.
Watch water depth
When you go from one waterpark attraction toanother, note that the water depth may bedifferent and the attraction should be used in adifferent way.
Warn kids about swallowing park water
Chlorine and water pH readings are usuallyposted at large waterparks.
Use plastic swim diapers
Many parks require them. Note where changingareas are located and use these designated,sanitized changing spots.
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