June 20, 2019
What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Hit the water! Water activities are among the most popular ways to spend our summer days, but they are not without risks. The CDC reports the U.S. sees 10 drowning deaths a day, two of which are children under the age of 14.
Anyone can be a potential victim – drowning has claimed strong swimmers, unsupervised children, and those without life vests. But with the right education and understanding of the true dangers of water, future deaths can be prevented.
Lakes, pools, rivers, or even hot tubs can hold potential dangers. Properly preparing, staying alert, and listening to your body can help keep you and your family safe on the water this summer.
Know your safety devices
Water wings, pool noodles, and inflatable tubes are not life jackets. While they are a fun and relaxing way to float down the river or lounge around on the lake, they are not designed as safety devices. Always wear a United States Coast Guard-approved personal safety device (PSD) when swimming, boating, or enjoying other water sports.
Never swim alone
Even the strongest of swimmers have been known to drown. No matter how confident you are in your abilities, always swim with a buddy. If you are in a group, designate buddies and have each other regularly check in on one another, even if a lifeguard is present. In a large group, it is surprisingly easy to lose track of one person without anyone noticing.
Know when to say no
There are times swimming is unsafe, and it’s important to know when those times are. Never swim or engage in water activities while drinking or under the influence of alcohol. If you’re tired, sluggish, or experiencing muscle cramping, it’s best to stay on the shore.
Always supervise children
All children should be supervised by a responsible adult anytime they are in the water, even if a lifeguard is on duty. For children who are not strong swimmers, use “touch supervision.” This is when you always stay within arm’s reach of the child, not on the poolside or shore where you could be distracted.
Children can drown in the time it takes to run inside and grab a towel or answer a phone call. Despite the images in the movies of screaming for help and splashing around, drowning is silent and quick. Learning the signs of drowning is an important step in preventing drowning accidents. Children may panic, slip under the water, and lose consciousness without making even a splash to catch the attention of an adult. So always keep your eyes on your children – and off your phone.
Some Sobering Statistics
Have fun this summer, and enjoy your time on the water. Teach your children water safety and make sure all family members know the true signs of drowning. And always remember – safety first.