Today we are happy to welcome a guest post from Karen Cohn, founder of The Zac Foundation, an organization dedicated to preparing children and their families for a lifetime of swimming safety. As we head into summer, Karen shares with us a few important tips for staying safe at the pool this summer
That fateful day is forever etched in my mind: a warm summer evening that provided an opportunity for my little Zachary – a great swimmer – to play in our backyard pool. What occurred during that swim is what prompts me to share my story with you today. My six-year-old son Zachary became trapped in the drain of our pool and drowned as we tried to free him from the drain’s powerful suction.
Since his passing, we launched The ZAC Foundation, an organization dedicated to preparing children and their families for a lifetime of swimming safety. The Foundation teaches – most succinctly – the ABC and Ds of water safety:
A is for Adults: An adult should always supervise a child in or around water.
B is for Barriers: Children should be taught to respect barriers around pools such as fences and gates. In that regard, children should be taught never to open gates to pool areas or climb over fences to access water.
C is for Classes: Swimming classes are vital for children, and CPR and preparedness classes are important for adults to ready them in the event of a water emergency.
D is for Drains: Pool and spa drains can be very dangerous. All swimmers should stay away from pool drains and learn what to do if they spot something wrong with a drain: exit the pool immediately and do not return to the water until the issue is resolved completely.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of adult supervision, barriers, and classes in one way or another, but I hear – time and again – that drain safety is a mystery to many parents. Our family had no idea about the dangers lurking in our pool. That’s why we created a tool for you and your family to learn about these dangers and how to prevent them. Please take a minute to read this potentially life-saving information that explains the difference between safe and unsafe drain covers, the dangers of pool drains, and how to prevent entrapment.
Summer months should be full of splashing and sunshine, and it is our hope that by creating this tool, we can keep more families safe this season.
Karen Cohn is the mother of Zachary Archer Cohn and co-founder of The ZAC Foundation. The ZAC Foundation is dedicated to improving water safety through advocacy, education, and effective programming to safeguard children and their families. Last year, the Foundation launched its children’s book teaching the ABC and Ds of Water Safety, The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim. To share your story with Karen or get involved, please visit www.thezacfoundation.com or email her at [email protected].