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Florida Circle of Parents E-Newsletter
Safety Tips for Summer Swimming Fun
little boy in pool
Whether it is in a friend's backyard, the community pool or a crowded water park, taking basic safety precautions can assure that everyone has a safe time at the pool.  
Here are 10 common-sense tips for parents to keep safety first.
Swim where there is a lifeguard (or responsible parent) on duty. I know this seems obvious and is posted at every pool, but situations arise all the time where this is an issue.  Many people think about this when it comes to an apartment, community or hotel pool, but what about when your child swims at a friend's house?  Making sure an adult is monitoring the pool at all times is essential.  Even strong swimmers can get overwhelmed, especially when distracted by playing with a buddy.
Small doesn't equal safe. Hot tubs can be just as dangerous as large pools.  PoolSafely.gov recommends the same safety precautions for both, including safety covers and fences. Children need to be monitored at all times, no matter the size of the space they are splashing in.
Kids should avoid drains and pipes. Pool plumbing can be a hazard.  Moved by the tragic death of a 7-year-old girl who was entrapped by a drain, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act to require pools to comply with safety standards.  A helpful checklist to determine whether your pool is safe is available at PoolSafely.gov.
Keep it mellow. I can still hear the echoes of "No running!" yelled from a lifeguard chair from my time at our city pool as a child.  That advice was good advice.  Running on slippery surfaces is dangerous for everyone around.  Someone could fall into the pool, accidentally push a smaller child towards water or hit the slick pool deck causing injury.  Keeping horseplay under control may take some self-control {and parental instruction}, but in the end everyone will have a better day.  Don't forget to set a good example!
Wear sunscreen. Even if kids are outside for just a few minutes, they are prone to sunburn.  I love the sunscreen swim gear that now can be found almost anywhere swimming suits are sold.  Children can wear swim shirts with a good SPF.  They protect better than t-shirts and are much easier to wear in the pool because they are not bulky and dry quickly.  This also gives the ability to place sunscreen underneath the shirts for an extra layer of protection.  If you are watching other kids at the pool, check with their parents for possible sunscreen allergy issues which are not uncommon to specific ingredients.
Don't step away. I am busy.  You are busy.  We all have that ONE thing that needs to be done right now!  But slipping away to change the laundry or answer a phone call could be a snap decision with disastrous consequences.  If something really needs your attention, call a swim break: "Everyone out of the pool and indoors for a safety pause".
Have a first-aid kit on hand. Being prepared for minor injuries can help avoid major ones.  Bumps and bruises are a part of childhood.  When they are easily treated with bandages, antibiotic ointment and cleaning pads that you have on-hand, the fun can quickly continue.
Set boundaries. If you are in charge, don't be afraid to take charge.  Showing kids where the deeper parts of the pool are before they enter is always a good idea.  Taking kids on a "pool tour" to see where they can touch and where the easiest way to an edge is can help them find safe splashing places.  Very small children should NEVER be in a pool without an adult, even if it seems shallow.
Watch out for lightning. Lightning sometimes beats rain.  Even if it isn't raining yet, lightning in the distance should be a reason to run for cover away from water.  An approaching storm is a sign to get out of the pool.
Be a party-pooper. Nobody wants the fun to end, but if you notice kids getting tired, it is time to take a water break.  Providing plenty of drinking water is sometimes overlooked with all that water in the pool, but dehydration is a real possibility even when swimming.
Safety is essential to summertime pool fun.  Supervising swimming and splashing kids is a hands-on activity with the bonus that YOU are in the middle of the sunny adventure.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Pinwheels for Prevention logoCommunities hold the solution to child abuse. Child abuse doesn't just affect children and families- entire communities suffer. The effects can be long lasting for everyone. But communities that support families and children can help stop and prevent abuse.
There are benefits for everyone. When we work together to prevent abuse, children grow up healthier and happier. Families grow stronger. Communities become safer, more connected places where people feel like they belong.
The pinwheel is the national symbol for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. During the month of April, communities throughout Florida planted pinwheels to call attention to the need for everyone to be kind and supportive to children and reach out to families in need. We distributed over 48,000 blue and silver pinwheels throughout the state, and hopefully they "sprouted up" in your community.
children and bikers
Children planted pinwheels with Bikers Against Child Abuse
On April 5, dozens of children and families came out for the inaugural Pinwheels in the Park event at E. Peck Greene Park in Downtown Tallahassee. This event was sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Florida (PCA Florida) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) as part of their annual Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign. The year-round campaign includes the broadcast of public service announcements, distribution of printed parenting materials, and the coordination of community events during April in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
First Lady Ann Scott attended and participated in the event by reading the storybook Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar to a group of children as part of the Scholastic story time presentation, which also featured a special appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog. 
Clifford the Big Red Dog  
2014 Circle of Parents Surveys
Protective Factors Surveys for 2014 have been sent to all established Circle of Parents groups in order to evaluate parenting skills and provide valuable feedback from the 2013-2014 group meetings. CoP groups that return the surveys by July 31 will receive a $25 gift card for the group to use. We hope this year's participation will be our best ever. The evaluation, assessment and review of the data will be provided by the Research, Evaluation and Systems unit of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. The analysis of the data will be included in the Florida Circle of Parents Evaluation Report. Please make sure your group returns the surveys on time.
Community Outreach
On April 25, Circle of Parents and PCA Florida hosted a table at the 7th Annual Social Services Bazaar held in Tallahassee. Community resources were on display and interested parties received information for potential Circle of Parents groups. If you would like to receive an information packet about joining Circle of Parents, please contact Jean Gibson at jgibson@ounce.org.
Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet
laptop-family-girls With the school year coming to a close, more kids will be home and possibly un or under supervised during the day. Being able to use the Internet is part of most children's lives now, and it's a great resource for learning and fun. While the Internet is a great tool, it also has some downsides.
For example, your child may come across:
  • Sexual material - it's easy to come across pornography by accident.
  • Sexual predators - they often use chat rooms and social networking sites to develop an on-line relationship with a child. He or she may also try to get the child to meet face-to-face.
  • Cyberbullying - for example, classmates or others may post threats or negative information on a Web site.
  • Information about illegal activities - Children may come across material about: drug use, including how to get or make illegal drugs
  • Violence - violent on-line games, instructions on how to make bombs or other weapons, hatred aimed at certain groups of people, graphic images of violence
You can help keep your child safer online. When it comes to the Internet, apply the same parenting skills you use in the "real" world. Teach your child why Internet safety is important. Explain that:
  • Not everything online is true.
  • People online are not always who they say they are.
  • Some people may use the Internet to take advantage of children or do illegal things.
  • You can't always control who sees what you share online.
  • Set limits. Talk to your child about:
  • When he or she can go online
  • How much time he or she can spend online
  • What sites he or she can visit
  • Whether he or she can post pictures or use a webcam
  • Who he or she can communicate with online
Also explain what sites or activities are off-limits and why. Help your child create an online identity. For example, your child may need a screen name for instant messaging or for a gaming site. Make sure it doesn't give away personal information, such as your child's
  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • School name or location
Respect your child's privacy as much as possible. Tell your child you will be keeping an eye on his or her online activity. Explain that it's to help make sure he or she is safe. With your help, your child can safely enjoy all the Internet has to offer!
We would like to extend a welcome to three new groups this quarter, all located in Ocala, Marion County.
Kinderoo Children's Academy, Domestic Violence Shelter of Ocala, and the
Lillian Bryant Center (Ocala Parks & Recreation). 
Training Request!
To schedule an initial or refresher facilitator training, contact Training Specialist, Jean Gibson at jgibson@ounce.org or 850.921.4494 ext. 202
2014 Parent and Caregiver Guides
Caregiver guides are available to all Circle groups, and were shipped the beginning of April. If your group did not receive the 2014 guides, you may not be on our shipping list. Please contact us if you need guides. They are available in English, Spanish and Creole.
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