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Tuesday August 4th 2020

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Swim Safely at Home or Away

By H. Lynn Adelsman, Modified from MN Dept. Natural Resources advice

With few or no lifeguards at Minneapolis lakes and beaches this summer,  please be aware of these safe practices:

  • Always watch children around water, without being distracted. Phones can be distracting and contrary to child-monitoring.
  • Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
  • Teach children how to swim. Consider their age, development, and how comfortable they are around water. (See below for swim lesson resources).
  • Empty buckets, containers, and kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside down so they don’t collect water.
  • Air-filled and foam toys are NOT safety devices.
  • Children should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket in the water.
  • Be aware that fences are needed around home or apartment pools. A 4 foot tall, pool fence should surround all sides and have self-closing and self-latching gates to avoid children from entering unsafely without supervision.
  • Drowning most often occurs silently; not like in movies where the victim shouts and waves their arms. People often cannot recognize a drowning that makes little noise as a person can’t cry out for help. Ask the person if they are alright.  If they can answer they likely are OK. If not quick action is needed. 
  • Know what to do when rescue is needed including calling 911. Throw a floating object or extend a towel or paddle but release if the victim starts to pull you in and try something else.

Swimming During the COVID-19 Pandemic  not bolded in PDF file

  • Maintain your beach area with a towel, etc, at least 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. Then you can remove your mask. Wear a mask when you go for a walk or to a parking lot.
  • Practice social distancing in the water just as you would on land thus allowing any virus that might emanate from nearby swimmers, surfers, or paddlers to dilute, disperse, and die off.”

Swimming Lessons Now Available

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) offers lessons for all ages and abilities, with scholarships and donated swimwear is available to help make swimming more accessible and equitable.

For Minneapolis youth who qualify, a series of eight lessons with a scholarship is just $5, (versus the typical $50 cost); scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

These lessons are part of the Water and Ice Safety Education (WISE) program launched by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and take place throughout the summer at a variety of MPRB aquatics facilities.  WISE scholarships are also available for women’s-only swimming lessons and lifeguard training classes.

Classes are held throughout the summer at various MPRB lakes and pools and year-’round at the Phillips Aquatics Center 2323 11th Ave. So.

For more information on MPRB swim lessons and scholarships, email aquatics@minneapolisparks.org or call 612-230-6495.

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