Area Agencies Promote Water Safety Month

During National Water Safety month, the Rockford Park District, along with the Rockford Fire Department and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, are working together to promote water and river safety, and the importance of learning how to swim.

National Water Safety Month

This weekend, hundreds of families will converge on pools, waterparks, and open bodies of water for recreational water activities. It’s important that we are all water aware!

Water Safety

The Rockford Fire Department wants to emphasize safe water practices such as swimming only in designated areas, making sure children are always supervised around water, learning CPR, and wearing a life vest. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages four and under. “A child drowning is a silent death; you likely won’t hear a child who’s in trouble in the water, so it’s important that we educate our community about these potential risks, and prevent water-related injuries or deaths this summer,” said Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten.

The Rockford Fire Department operates a water rescue team, which can complete swift water, under ice and surface ice rescue, as well as general water rescue. The dive team responds to all bodies of water within the city limits, as well as throughout the area, using the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS).

River Safety

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department monitors river conditions and patrols the Rock River. It is important to know the dangers of the river, and avoiding any alcoholic beverages before or during boating or water-skiing. Updated river information is available by calling the Rock River Information Hotline at 815-316-8888.

Pool Safety

In order to stay safe around a public or residential pool, remember the following: stay close, be alert, and watch. It is also important to continue to practice water safety skills and have appropriate equipment. Families are encouraged to take a pool safely pledge by visiting www.poolsafely.gov.

Pool Safely

Importance of Learning How to Swim

Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training. “Swimming is one of the best exercises, and provides a lot of fun and enjoyment. One of the best things adults and kids can do to stay safe around the water is to learn how to swim. It takes only inches of water for a small child to drown, so taking extra safety steps around any body of water is key,” says Magic Waters and Aquatics Director Zack McIntyre. The Rockford Park District encourages kids to wear lifejackets when around any body of water. Lifejackets are provided free of charge at Magic Waters Waterpark and all Rockford Park District pools. Additional swimming safety tips can be found online at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/swimsafety.

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Participate in FREE World’s Largest Swim Lesson

The Rockford Park District is giving the community the opportunity to learn more about swimming safely by participating in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson, sponsored by the World Waterpark Association. Across the globe, kids and families at aquatic facilities and waterparks will learn how to swim, and attempt to break last year’s Guinness World Record.

The World’s Largest Swim Lesson takes place on Thursday, June 22, 2016 at the following locations:

  • Magic Waters Waterpark, 7820 CherryVale N. Blvd., Cherry Valley – 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Harkins Aquatic Center, 910 Acorn Street, Rockford – 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Alpine Pool, 4310 Newburg Road, Rockford – 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sand Park Pool, 1041 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park – 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The lesson is free for anyone age three or older. Lesson donations made at any Rockford Park District aquatics facility will be accepted on the day of the event. All donations help fund programs at Harkins Aquatic Center (Learn to Swim, Harkins Olympics, Jr. Lifeguard/Leadership programs, free open swim, etc.) Guests who wish to stay and enjoy the pool or waterpark will need to pay admission.

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