Summer Water Safety Tips
Nothing feels better in the summertime than cooling off in the water. But before you jump in, let’s go over some important water safety tips:
- Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim. Additionally, consider the body of water you are entering and if it matches your skill level. Swimming in a pool is a lot different than swimming in the ocean or a lake or river. Also, remember that swim lessons do not make children (or adults) “drown-proof.” They are just an added layer of protection against drowning.
- Never swim alone. It is always best to swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
- Learn CPR. You can locate a class through the American Red Cross here.
- Never drink alcohol when swimming or operating a boat. According to the CDC, up to 70 percent of water recreation deaths involve alcohol.
- Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in the ocean, lakes, and rivers. Test out life jackets in a controlled body of water like a pool to make sure they will pull you onto your back in the event that you become unconscious.
- Keep a first aid kit and list of emergency contacts with you at all times.
- Do not underestimate the power of water. Rivers and lakes may have undertows. If you are caught in a current, do not try to fight it. Remain calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim out of it.
- If a child goes missing, always check the water first. Drowning takes seconds, so it’s best to make sure that they are not in the water before looking for them in other places.
- Never dive in unfamiliar or shallow areas. The American Red Cross recommends never diving headfirst into water that is less than 9 feet deep. This includes pools.
- Play smart games in the water. Games that involve pushing or jumping on others, or holding your breath, are dangerous and should not be played.
- Do not allow children to play around drains or suction fittings. Older pool filters have trapped and subsequently injured or drowned many people, most of them children. It is important that all adults know how to shut them off I the event that someone gets caught, as this is the only way to release them.
- If a natural body of water contains blue-green algae, don’t go in. Algae blooms may contain toxins that cause illness and even death. These toxins can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, or inhaled.
- Never leave children unattended near water. If you have to leave, take your child with you; and remember, lifeguards are not babysitters.
- Have a designated water watcher at all times. This person should sit outside the water and continuously scan the water for anyone who needs help. The water watcher should not drink, use electronic devices, or other distractions while they are in charge.
- Know your limits. If you are sick, tired, or injured, stay out of the water.
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