Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No fooling on April Pools Day


Peter Banks has trained Olympic champions and taught countless others to swim at the Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center, but one statistic that still bothers him is the number of infant pool deaths.

Drowning claims the lives of nearly 4,000 people every year, according to the National Safety Council. Although all age groups are represented, children 4 and younger have the highest death rate due to drowning. Most drownings and near-drownings happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub.

One thing Banks is doing to help is promoting drowning awareness, particularly as the summer swimming season quickly approaches. That's the idea behind Saturday's April Pools Day at the aquatic center, 405 Beverly Blvd., which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It's the event's second year, but this time it's being done in conjunction with the Hillsborough County Children's Board. The event will emphasize safety steps that parents can take, such as installing pool fences and taking other precautions.

"Drowning is one the biggest causes of children's mortality, especially during the summer," said Banks, the longtime head swimming coach at the aquatic center. "We offered to host the event this year, working with the Children's Board, to bring attention to the problem of drownings.

Fire Rescue personnel and others in the community who deal with drowning prevention will be on hand for demonstrations and discussions. There also will be swimming and scuba exhibitions and other activities.

The program is free, and food, prizes for kids and door prizes will be offered.

Banks hopes 2004 Olympic silver medalist Maritza Correia, who trained at the center, also will be on hand. While the program runs four hours, Banks said most of the pool demonstrations will be in the first 90 minutes when the largest crowds are expected.

.fast facts

Water safety tips

• Never leave a child alone near water, whether it's the beach, a pool or a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.

• Kids don't drown only in pools. Bathtubs, buckets, toilets and hot tubs present drowning dangers as well.

• Enroll children over age 3 in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. But keep in mind lessons don't "drownproof" your child.

• Always follow posted safety precautions when visiting water parks.

• If you're visiting a public pool, keep an eye on your kids. Lifeguards aren't babysitters.

• Teach your children these four key swimming rules: Always swim with a buddy. Don't dive into unknown bodies of water. Don't push or jump on others while in the water. Be prepared for an emergency.

• Don't underestimate the power of water. Even rivers and lakes can have an undertow.

• Always have a first-aid kit and emergency phone contacts handy. Parents should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Source: The National Safety Council

No fooling on April Pools Day 04/03/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  2. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  3. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.

  4. Editorial: Pinellas Construction Licensing Board should be abolished


    There are essentially two facts that need to be understood about the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board: It is a one-of-a-kind agency in Florida without any accountability to the state or the county. And to be kind, for years it was run haphazardly as an independent fiefdom, with missing financial records, …

    The only way to restore faith and sanity to the process is to abolish the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and follow the lead of Hillsborough and other counties that utilize building departments and law enforcement to regulate contractors.
  5. 11 Pasco County schools get schedule changes to make up missed time from Irma


    First, the good news. Pasco County families won't see their Thanksgiving break shortened to make up time missed from school during Hurricane Irma. 

    Pasco County teachers welcomed back their students on Monday, after six days off for Hurricane Irma.