There is little in life my kids love more than going swimming. When we went to the Dominican Republic in December, and then Arizona last month, all they wanted to do (basically the entire time we were on vacation) was play in the pool. Right now, Essley actually has a count-down going on to Memorial Day – because that’s the day the local swimming pool opens for the year. They’re both signed up for swimming lessons this summer, and we’ll undoubtedly be purchasing season passes to the pool. And Essley has a couple of friends with pools at their houses where she’ll have summer play dates. Swimming pools are going to be a big part of our lives in the coming months.
While the whole family is excited for pool season, I’m admittedly a little nervous (as I think most parents are, by instinct). Swimming pools are magical places for little ones, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Thankfully, I recently learned about a concept known as the A, B, C, D’s of water safety that The Zac Foundation put together to help parents remember important ways to keep kids safe. Since May is National Water Safety Month, and I’m sure many of you are gearing up for pool season yourselves, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with all of you today (along with some of my favorite pictures of my little ones having water fun over the past few years). And when you’re done reading, there’s also a summer fun kit giveaway to enter at the end of the post to celebrate summer water season’s arrival. Woohoo!
A is for Adult. An adult should always be present when children are in or around water, and should always have an eye on the children (and not be distracted by phones, etc., or walk away, even for a minute). Never let kids be alone near a pool, ocean, lake, or river.
B is for Barrier. If you have a pool or spa, make sure to have barriers to keep children safe. Examples of this would include a fence around your pool, a lock on the fence for which only adults have the key, a lock only reachable by adults on doors that lead to pool areas, an alarm that beeps if doors or windows to the pools or open, and an alarm that goes up if the surface of the water is disrupted. Children should also be taught to never a pool gate unless an adult is present.
C is for Classes. Kids and adults should take water safety classes. Children should take swimming lessons where they learn water safety, and adults should take classes in CPR and First Aid. If you have a pool, have a phone close to it at all times, and teach your children how to call 911. And as a family, find ways to talk about how to be safe around water.
D is for Drains. This is something I honestly had never even thought about before, but it is profoundly important. Teach all swimmers to stay away from all pool and spa drains. Make sure that any pool or spa you or your kids swim in has been inspected and is up to code. If you have a pool or spa, install emergency shutoff switches to shut off pumps, and if a drain cover becomes loose or falls up, makes sure to immediately shut down the pool until it is repaired.
In addition to the A, B, C, D’s of water safety, I’ve learned even more about water safety on The Zac Foundation’s website. Parents Karen and Brian Cohn co-founded The ZAC Foundation in 2008, in honor of their 6-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, a natural and accomplished swimmer who passed away after his arm became entrapped in a pool drain. In Zachary’s honor, they created this incredible organization that works to save the lives of children through educating parents on water safety and pioneering water safety standards. Pretty wonderful, right? Please take a minute to watch this informative video on one more thing to know before your kids jump in the pool (I am so glad I watched it, and I’ve passed it on to everyone I know who owns a pool). And for more water safety tips, sign up for the ZAC Foundation’s newsletter right here.
And now for the giveaway! I’m teaming up with the ZAC Foundation and a few other bloggers to give away 15 summer prize packs, each of which includes a bag, towel, book, water watcher card, t-shirt and wristband. To enter, just use the form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway runs through May 26th and is open to US residents who are 18 and older. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by The ZAC Foundation by June 1. Only one winner per household, please.
Big thanks to The Zac Foundation for consistently working to spread awareness about water safety, and for the great prizes they’ve donated for this giveaway! Have a happy – and safe – swimming pool and water season, friends.
Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I’m so glad these taxonomy issues are being raised on a popular science Youtube series:
One of our favorite warm weather activities with Irie and Tiki is to take them swimming, either at the beach, if we can spare a couple of days for a getaway, or at the lake. Wherever we go, though,…
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Thank you! My dog flourishes at home with his adopted sis and my husband and I. But when strangers come in the house it's something else. Unless we're in a neutral setting, he is pacing, VERY reactive and just a totally different dog. You can't judge a dogs character by their first meet and greet in my opinion. Especially if it's their territory.
BAD RAP Blog
This is “Mr. Ethiopian wolf,” pretty much the world’s leading expert on the species:
There is a very interesting discussion in the Q and A portion about the introgression of dog genes into Ethiopian wolves and why that’s not necessarily always a bad thing.
The current research is working toward a full genome sequence of the Ethiopian wolf, and if they are like coyotes and “Holarctic” wolves, I bet there will be some surprises in store.
“Whether God exists or don’t, don’t matter. You still owe him.”
Yer Big Dog
2 Dogs 2000 Miles
I received a lot of feedback about my recent blog “False Confidence about Microchipping a Pet” which pointed out some of the pitfalls about micro-chipping your dog or cat, not the least of which is that most people haven’t registered that microchip properly. In the process I learned about a free national micro chip registry called Michelson’s Found Animals. This week on DOG TALK (and Kitties, Too!) I interviewed Aimee Gilbreath, the Executive Director of this animal welfare foundation, and I learned the valuable service they were providing to all of our pets. I immediately signed up both Maisie and Wanda – the website makes it super simple. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that if I was so be separated from them (heaven forbid) that a microchip scanner would tell anyone who and where I am to reclaim them.
Think how many cats are lost every year – kitties slip out of their homes, without collars or tags, and are taken in by other people or by a shelter that cannot find the rightful owner because the cat doesn’t have a microchip or it hasn’t been properly registered. Michelson’s Found Animals fills a special niche in rescue because it seeks to remove from shelters those animals whose owners would reclaim them, if only they could be found. Michelson’s Found Animals identified microchipping and registry as an obvious, simple and overlooked aspect of how to reduce pets in shelters: you could reunite those pets with their heart-broken families, if only those pets were micro-chipped and the information was stored in a national database.
Based in Los Angeles, Michelson’s Found Animals was founded by the philanthropist Dr. Gary Michelson (a retired human surgeon whose specialty was spinal surgery, for which he received hundreds of patents) who clearly wanted to make a difference in animal welfare. Beyond providing surrender prevention programs and education, low cost microchips and scanners for shelters, no cost spay and neuter services to low income households and the no-fee microchip registry for everyone, Dr. Michelson thinks way outside the box, as I learned on Wikipedia:
“Found Animals provides a kitten foster program which saved more than 1,000 kittens in 2015 and the Saving Pets Challenge which raised $ 1 Million for animal welfare organizations nationwide. In 2008, Michelson’s Found Animals foundation launched the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology an international competition with a 25 million dollar prize that represents a unique experiment in innovation aimed at solving the problem of pet overpopulation. His goal is to encourage researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields to take on the challenge of non-surgical pet sterilization. Recognizing that interested parties may not have access to funds the research and testing would require, also offered is the companion Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology that will provide up to $ 50 million in funding for promising research. The Michelson Prize seeks to make sterilization accessible and affordable worldwide and aid developing countries where this problem is even greater.”
It is therefore with pleasure and pride that I can say that Michelson’s Found Animals will be the beneficiary of the Pooch Party August 4th at the boutique Only in Beverly Hills, celebrating the 2nd Annual Dog Film Festival’s return to Los Angeles on August 5th.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.