There was an average of 3,536 drownings in the United States, every year, from 2005-2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Safety Council reports drowning is the second leading cause of death among children under 15, with boys drowning two times more likely than girls. It is important to remember that drowning is preventable and don’t worry – you do not have to become an Olympic swimming athlete to prevent a tragic case of drowning. Be relieved knowing that you and your family can feel confident and safe around water just by reviewing the following five water safety tips.
What are Some Water Safety Tips?
1. Pay Close Attention to Your Surroundings
It only takes seconds for an accident to occur. Working together with those around you to attentively survey the area can help keep everyone safe. Always face the water if you are around a river or ocean so you are not caught off guard if a current comes in. It becomes difficult to be aware of your surroundings when you introduce alcohol or drugs in the picture. Avoid using alcohol or drugs before or during your time around water. Always stay within arm’s reach of your children. Avoid distractions such as cell phone, iPad or Kindle. Introduce your children to the water as early as possible. The more comfortable your children are with being around bodies of water, the better.
2. Never Swim Alone
It is dangerous to swim alone even if you are a good swimmer. Accidents can happen unexpectantly. Invite a buddy to swim with you. Also, remember to only swim in a pool if the area is supervised by a lifeguard.
3. Assess Your Swim Level
Make sure the body of water you choose to swim in matches your swim skill-level. Take into account that swimming in a lake or river requires the strength to handle any currents. Additionally, it is good to note that these bodies of water usually do not include a lifeguard. Making sure you are as prepared as possible will lower the chance of an accident occurring. Try taking a swimming lesson or enrolling in a CPR training class.
4. Follow Pool Rules
Avoid running in the vicinity of a pool. Keep in mind you could slip and fall, especially if the surface is wet. Remember that playful pushing or jumping can easily get out of hand. Try not to become overly aggressive around and especially inside the pool.
5. Wear Protective Equipment
Wearing a flotation device like a life jacket can help make sure you are safe. Keep in mind, the ground around pools can be slippery so think about wearing swim shoes to help you from slipping and falling.
What to do in Case of an Emergency?
Use the “Throw Don’t Go” method if you see someone drowning. To keep yourself and anyone else from danger, find something that floats to throw at someone who may be drowning instead of jumping in to get them. Make sure you alert the lifeguard and EMS as soon as possible. If a child is missing, check the water first. Every second counts. If you get caught in a current, stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free.
Together, we can work to decrease the number of deaths caused by drowning with the few tips and reminders mentioned above. Do you feel confident about your water safety? Take the quiz here.
Being more aware and cautious will help prevent countless deaths. Download Red Cross’ free swim app to learn more about how to keep your loved ones safe around water. The app includes educational games and videos for kids plus a swim lesson progress tracker.
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