Parent Connection

Guest Columnist - Teri Dalone

Putting the "safe" into Water Safety


Teri Dalone - Aquatic Coordinator, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

The statistics are terrifying: in Virginia, drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury death for children ages 1-4, and the sixth leading cause of death for all age groups (Injury and Violence Prevention Program, 2010). To make these statistics even more frightening, know that drowning is called a "silent killer" since the majority of drowning victims are unable to call out for help.

Since there are 59 square miles of water, over 350 public pools and more than 10,000 in-ground backyard pools in Virginia Beach, it's very important for all of us to be safe in and around the water. As parents, that means that we have to be extra vigilant and take simple precautions to ensure the safety of our young ones.

What can you do to reduce the risk of drowning?

Simple, common sense steps can help keep your child -- and you -- safe:

Have I scared you off yet? I hope not, because swimming can be a great way to relax and have fun. A great way to introduce your child to swimming would be through the Mary Helen Thomas Free Learn to Swim Days, for ages 4 to 12. These free swimming lessons are offered throughout Hampton Roads. There's no cost to participate, although you will need to call the hosting facility reserve your child's spot by June 3rd.

Saturday, June 8
10- 11:30 am
11-12:30 pm
12:30 2 pm
12:30 2 pm

Sunday, June 9th
10 - 11:30 am
1 - 2:30 pm
1 - 2:30 pm


Timberlake/Windsor Oak Pool, 933 Windsor Oaks Blvd, Virginia Beach
Portsmouth YMCA, 4900 High Street West, Portsmouth
Seatack Recreation Center, 141 S. Birdneck Road, Virginia Beach
Williams Farm Recreation Center, 5252 Learning Circle, Virginia Beach


Norfolk Community Beach Park, 700 E. Ocean View Ave, Norfolk
Kempsville Recreation Center, 800 Monmouth Lane, Virginia Beach
Princess Anne Recreation Center, 1400 Nimmo Parkway, Virginia Beach


757.499.5852
757.483.9622
757.437.4858
757.385.2950


757.444.4605
757.474.8492
757.426.0022

I do hope that you will visit one of the Virginia Beach Recreation Centers. Our staff can help introduce water safety to you and your family, and make sure that your trip to the pool is fun, refreshing and -- above all -- safe.

About the Author

Teri Dalone is a 33-year veteran with the City of Virginia Beach, Department of Parks and Recreation. She oversees the operation of six community recreation center swimming pools and the Therapeutic Services unit. She is certified as an American Red Cross Instructor Trainer in Water Safety and Lifeguard Training and teaches Aquatic Facility Operators through National Recreation and Parks Association.

Works Cited

Injury and Violence Prevention Program. (2010). Drowning Prevention Fact Sheet. Virginia Department of Health.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2012). Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts. Atlanta: Center for Disease Control.
United States Coast Guard. (2010). Recreational Boating Statistics. Department of Homeland Security (US).