Suffolk County Elementary Students Learn to “Be Pool Smart”

Legislator William R. Spencer recognizes Max Orza, winner of the annual “Be Pool Smart” poster contest.

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First grade student Max Orza was recognized by Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D. as the winner of the annual “Be Pool Smart” poster contest.

Photo by: Office of Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer

Centerport, NY - June 21, 2017 - Max Orza, a first grade student at Washington Drive Primary School in the Harborfields District, was recently recognized by Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D. as the winner of the annual “Be Pool Smart” poster contest in the 18th Legislative District.
“Max is helping us do something really meaningful by raising awareness about water safety and the very serious and real need for both parents and children to keep a watchful eye around the pool,” said Legislator Spencer. “His eye catching and informative illustration incorporated a variety of relevant safety tips such as: always swimming with an adult nearby; only diving in safe areas; and knowing how to call 9-1-1 and where to access a first aid kit when an emergency arises. We are so proud of his work.” 
Since 2007, the Legislature has welcomed the opportunity to continue keeping the pool safety conversation with our elementary students afloat. Activities such as this help to open up a dialogue and get students excited about a very important topic. Each year, approximately 3,500 people die in accidental drowning incidents in the United States. For every person that dies from drowning, 5 more will receive emergency medical care for swimming related injuries. That is why it is so important to reinforce safety measures for all swimmers hitting the pool or beach, especially our youth. 
Most safety precautions are easy to follow, yet sometimes may be overlooked. The Suffolk County Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, the Red Cross, and Legislator Spencer offer the following rules to help make the pool and beach a fun and safe place to be:
  • Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards to young children and about the use of protective devices, such as door alarms and latches. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.
  • Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a “designated watcher” to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the “watcher. “When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the surrounding areas.
  • Do not allow a young child in the pool without an adult.
  • Do not consider young children to be drown-proof because they have had swimming lessons. Children must be watched closely while swimming.
  • Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool. Be sure a telephone is poolside with emergency numbers posted nearby.
  • Remove toys from in and around the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
  • Never prop open the gate to a pool barrier.
  • The best preventative step one can take to prevent drowning and other related injuries is to take swimming lessons and to learn CPR.   By taking lessons, you are not only protecting yourself, but you will be prepared to help if an emergency situation arises.  To locate a swimming or safety class in your area, visit