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Cool tips for a hot summer of fun

With the summer sun upon us, everyone is thinking of how to stay cool. If you're like most people, when the temperature starts to soar, you think about heading to the coolest place in town, the pool or the beach. But before you go, the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross wants to remind you that a cool dip could leave you in hot water if you don't practice water safety. "We are all looking forward to a lot of fun with our family and friends this summer," Paige Thayer, director of chapter support, said. "We just have to remember it's not fun if it's not safe. With a little planning and a few safety rules, we can all beat the heat and enjoy ourselves at the same time." Remember these simple tips for a great way to cool down in the water: Learn to swim and swim well. Contact the Pioneer Valley Chapter for information on learning how to swim. Never swim alone. Use a buddy system when your swimming with friends to be sure everyone is always accounted for. Never leave small children unattended near water not even the bathtub not even for a moment! Adults should practice "reach supervision," which means to always be within arm's length when a child is near water. Always have on hand a life jacket, rope, pole or other object that can be thrown to a person in trouble. Eliminate temptation. Backyard pools should have self-closing, self-latching gates that remain locked when the pool is not being used. Kiddie pools should be emptied and toys removed immediately after use. Alcohol and water don't mix. Never drink alcohol while swimming or boating. For more information on summer safety tips, contact the Pioneer Valley Chapter at 737-4306 ext. 915 or log on to www.redcrosspioneervalley.org.

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