Ocean County Press Release

SUMMER IS NEARLY HERE and with it comes the excitement of swimming pools, barbecues, bike rides and trips to the beach.

But behind all of the good times lurk hidden dangers that can quickly and unexpectedly turn fun into tragedy.

"Schools will soon close and our roads and shore communities will host thousands of visitors," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, tourism liaison. "Ocean County's population will more than double this summer and while everybody wants to have a good time, we have to remember that safety comes first."

Summer safety often begins in your own backyard, said Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, six people drown in swimming pools every day and young children are especially at risk.

Little said accidents often happen when adults are nearby.

"Tragically, many drownings occur when children get access to the pool during a short lapse in adult supervision," Little said. "Emergency officials recommend that if a child is noticed to be missing, always check the pool first."

Ocean swimmers also need to be aware of the dangers they face.

"First and foremost never swim at an unguarded beach," Little said. "Even if the water looks calm, there may be rip currents that can quickly overpower the strongest swimmer."

If caught in a rip tide, lifeguards advise swimmers to swim parallel to the coast until free of the current.

No matter where you choose to swim, some simple safety precautions can go a long way to preventing a tragedy.

Never swim alone or after drinking alcohol and always supervise children while they are in the water.

"Parents and guardians of children should also learn CPR," said Little, who is also liaison to the Ocean County Health Department.

Other summertime dangers can lurk where they are least expected.

Barbecue and picnic foods must be kept fresh and cold to avoid the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.

"Foods, even if left out in the sun for a short time, can spoil quickly and turn a fun-filled picnic into a sudden trip to the emergency room," Little said.

Safety is also important while travelling to the beach.

"I urge all drivers to slow down and be aware of bicyclists on the road," Vicari said.

Vicari reminded everyone that state law requires anyone under the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

"Share the road," he advised. "Both motorists and bicyclists need to work together to prevent tragedies."

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