When the sun is out and the weather’s warm, people flock to the water — whether it’s the beach, a lake, a river or a backyard pool. But, wherever there’s water, there’s also danger.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people drown every day — and two of those are children 14 or younger. Even seasoned swimmers can find themselves in dangerous situations, so brush up on these basic safety tips before your first – or next – summer swim:
Swimming Safety Tips
- Consider the swimming level of everyone in your party before selecting a place to swim. Just because swimmers are comfortable in a pool doesn’t mean they can handle swimming in the ocean.
- Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present, and follow any posted warnings or instructions. However, don’t rely on the lifeguard alone. Never leave young children or other inexperienced swimmers unattended or in the care of another child.
- Teach children to ask permission before going near the water. If a child is missing, always check the water first.
- Young children should wear swim diapers and Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Even still, maintain constant supervision.
- Avoid alcohol or drug use during water activities.
- Know CPR and other life-saving measures.
- Don’t dive into unfamiliar water. You never know what might be below the surface.
- In open bodies of water, watch for dangers that just aren’t present in pools. These can include plants and animals, as well as riptides, currents, waves and rapids. If you see someone in danger, reach out to them with a pole or tree branch – anything that extends your reach – or throw them a floating object while someone else alerts the lifeguard. Wading in yourself could put you in just as much danger, so leave the water rescues to the professionals.
- Don’t swallow the water, no matter where you’re swimming. It could cause illness.
- Check the weather and be aware of changing and potentially dangerous conditions.
If you happen to have a pool on your property (lucky you), you have even more responsibilities. Your pool should be completely surrounded by a locking fence, at least 4 feet tall, and all pools and spas should have compliant drain covers. Keep life-saving equipment, such as life rings and poles, within easy reach. If you have a small kiddie or wading pool, be sure to empty it after each use. A baby can drown in just 1 inch of water.
Summer fun in and around the water is for people of all ages — just keep in mind that some people need more supervision than others, and everyone needs to keep safety in mind at all times. Happy splashing!
Top image by Flickr user Lars Plougmann used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.