Kern County safety tips to remember this summer
School is out, and the weather is hot. It can only mean one thing — summertime is here.
And with summer comes summertime recreation: swimming and other outdoor fun. It’s important to take proper safety precautions more than ever during this time of year.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has released a series of water-safety tips, warning people to be safe during summertime recreation. Kern County had 11 accidental drownings last year, something the sheriff’s office says it hopes to avoid if people adhere to this advice.
- Avoid swimming alone.
- Designate adults to watch children when having a swimming party.
- Never leave children alone or unattended near a swimming pool, even for a second.
- When supervising a child who is swimming, adults need to always maintain “touch supervision swimming,” meaning the adult can reach out and touch or assist that child at any moment if needed.
- When supervising a child who is swimming, an adult should never be distracted or engaged in any other activity.
- Install a fence around your pool, and lock the gate to the pool when not in use.
- Remove all toys from the swimming pool when not in use. Toys attract children.
- Consider installing a pool alarm, which will sound if a person enters the pool area.
- Teach children to swim at an early age.
- Take the time to learn CPR.
- Install a phone outside near the pool.
- If you have an above-ground pool, remove the ladder when not in use.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first. The majority of children who survive non-fatal submersions are discovered within two minutes.
Around the House
- Do not leave water standing in buckets.
- Never leave water standing in the bathtub.
- Never leave a child unattended in a bathtub, and always maintain touch supervision with a child in the bath.
- Always close the lid to the toilet. Consider installing safety locks on toilet lids.
- Empty wading pools immediately after use.
- Outdoor spas should have protective barriers, such as fencing or covers.
- Cover outdoor ponds with a fixed grill.
- Use the buddy system when swimming in lakes or rivers.
- Adults need to maintain touch supervision with children near water or in campground areas with access to water.
- Never swim in a lake or river after you have been drinking alcohol.
- When around recreational water or water sports, everyone should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest.
- Make sure all life vests are fitted properly.
- Do not make the assumption that because water looks calm or inviting a life vest is not needed. The Kern River can look deceivingly calm on the surface, yet dangerous underwater currents and debris can cause even a strong adult swimmer to be pulled under.
- Never operate a boat after drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs, and do not allow passengers on the boat if they are under the influence.
- Learn to recognize when a person is in trouble in the water. People often do not yell for help, and it may appear as if they are splashing or waving when they are actually trying to keep their head above water.
To the point of staying safe in the Kern River, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office also recently updated the sign at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon to reflect the current number of lives lost in the Kern River since 1968. The sign is updated each year during the month of May to include the number of lives lost in the Kern River during the previous twelve months. This year the sign was updated from 267 lives lost to 269 lives lost.