Northeast Times

City wants kids out of waterways

In light of at least two child deaths in 2013 in city creeks, the Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment has launched Op­er­a­tion Stay on Shore: Drown­ing is Pre­vent­able.

Swim­ming is il­leg­al in all city rivers, creeks and streams and it’s po­ten­tially deadly. It’s also un­ne­ces­sary be­cause Phil­adelphia has 80 pub­lic pools that are open dur­ing the sum­mer.

There are sev­er­al key myths about swim­ming in un­pro­tec­ted wa­ters. The wa­ter is not safe, even shal­low wa­ter. In truth, flash floods and sud­den wa­ter run­off events make the wa­ter levels un­pre­dict­able and dan­ger­ous. Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, streams are not clean. Al­though city wa­ter­ways are clean­er than they have been in dec­ades, storm wa­ter run­off from streets and lawns pol­lutes the wa­ter with trash, chem­ic­als and an­im­al waste. Fi­nally, it doesn’t mat­ter how good a swim­mer someone is, un­pro­tec­ted streams still pose a leth­al danger.

The fire de­part­ment en­cour­ages all youths and adults to swim in pro­tec­ted pools, not in nat­ur­al wa­ter­ways. Adults should mon­it­or all chil­dren near the wa­ter be­cause drown­ings are of­ten si­lent and can go un­noticed. For in­form­a­tion about pub­lic pools, vis­it www.phila.gov and fol­low the Parks and Re­cre­ation link. Call 311 for in­form­a­tion about any city ser­vices or call 911 in a pub­lic safety emer­gency.

For more in­form­a­tion about child wa­ter safety, vis­it www.safekids.org, www.cdc.gov and www.cpsc.gov. ••

You can reach at noreply@bsmphilly.com.

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