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    Don't Be A Turkey Around the Pool

    November 25, 2016

    If your extended family is anything like mine, then chances are you’re eating your third turkey sandwich made from leftovers, maybe even with some of that Swiss holey cheese and a bit of that fancy French Dijon mustard. Myself, I like to put a bunch of those raw onions in there, too, so you know, people don’t dare come near me while I snooze in the recliner.

    Anyways, this is important stuff about making sure your family is safe around a pool, whether it’s at a hotel on vacation or your cousin Nick's house in Tampa for a Thanksgiving weekend. I’m serious. Pay attention.

    A bunch of the kids were out back, tossing the ol’ pigskin, running routes (my Frank Jr. will make a great tight end for the Bears one day), and the ball sails over junior’s head, hits the ground and tumbles into the pool.

    Next thing you know, little junior goes over to get the ball, can’t reach it, and falls into the pool. It scared the living daylights out of me, but luckily he fell in when all of us were outside. I grabbed him and pulled him up to the deck, and he was quite alright, only wondering what just happened.

    That isn’t a fun thing to go through. It’s scary to say the least, so if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm where you and your guests can enjoy the pool year-round, that’s great. However, not every kid or family is familiar with or knows how to be around your pool, so here are some hard-learned suggestions:

    • Consider putting the safety cover on the pool so an unsuspecting kid chasing an errant throw doesn’t accidentally fall in.
    • If you have an above ground pool, make sure you lock the pool deck gate or lock the ladder so no curious little one can explore something new – and dangerous.
    • If you keep your pool open so everyone can use it over the holidays, that’s a pretty nice treat. But set the ground rules for use and supervision, or lock it up.
    • Teach your own kids how to act safely around pools and water while on vacation. If you need some ideas and a little help, you can start by reading about kids safety around the pool.
    • It’s your family and your responsibility, please don’t assume someone else is watching your kids. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air while ensuring the kids are happy doing their thing. There’s no need to watch the Bears this year anyway.
    • If the pool is closed, make use of door alarms and pool alarms. For the water, doors, gates, even wearable alarms for kids. They’re not expensive either.
    • Teach your kids how to swim as well as how to get back to the surface. This will give your kids, as well as yourself, confidence when around water. Get them lessons at your local YMCA.
    • Take the swim lessons with them. It’s cheap and good for you, and if I’m brave enough to be in public in my swim trunks and frightening amounts of body hair, then you have no excuse. Do the right thing.

    Yeah, I know, not the cheery stuff you might expect from me or anyone with the onset of the holiday season, but I’m telling ya, you gotta be careful and keep a close eye on the little guys. They’re fast, care-free and most likely still believe in cartoon physics like being able to skid across water. It doesn’t take much effort or time for all the fun and joy to get tense and scary with kids playing out back near the pool.

    Be safe, be merry, be bright, and pile on the onions. I’m serious. It works.

    Frank Rizzo.

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