Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time for trips to the beach and afternoons spent
outside by the pool. There’s nothing like getting away for a warm
and sunny vacation this time of year, but with that comes the need to
practice proper water safety. Whether you’re a small child, a teenager,
or an adult, it’s always important to stay safe in the water. Here
are some tips to keep in mind before you hit the waves or jump in the pool.
When swimming in water of any kind, follow these
general safety tips:
- Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim. Eager to learn?
Swim lessons aren’t just for kids! They’re available to all ages.
- Always take a buddy with you when you swim.
- Learn CPR and other rescue techniques so you can be prepared in case of
- Make sure that you’re comfortable with the body of water you’re
swimming in. More strength is needed to swim in a lake or a river where
there are currents.
- If you get caught in a current, don’t panic or try to fight it. Float
with it, or swim parallel to the shore.
- If you’re swimming in a public body of water like a lake or a beach,
make sure a lifeguard is present.
- Never push or jump on others.
- Never dive into an area you’re unfamiliar with.
- Avoid alcohol when swimming.
Drowning can be quick and quiet, so it’s best to designate a “water watcher” who will pay close attention to all swimmers.
Although there are dangers when a person of any age swims,
children and babies face the greatest risk of all.
Keeping Kids Safe
Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children. Most children
who drown in swimming pools are between the ages of one and four. Here
are a few
precautions you can take to keep your child safe around water:
- Never leave your child alone in the water.
- Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child.
- Don’t assume that lifeguards can see everything. Keep an eye on your
child even when a lifeguard is supposed to be doing the same.
- Don’t allow your child to play around drains or suction fittings.
- Don’t assume that a river or a lake isn’t dangerous. Both can
- Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts nearby.
Learn CPR, and always remain within arm’s length of your child, providing “touch supervision.”
For most children, the majority of their swimming will take place in a
pool. While the water may be rougher in the ocean, it’s important
to remain careful when swimming in a pool as well.
During the summer months, you’ll likely visit the pool often to escape
the heat and relax. Check out these tips on
enjoying the pool safely all summer long:
- Install a fence at least four feet high around the pool to prevent a small
child from entering when no adults are around to watch. Make sure there
are no openings that the child could use to get over, under, or through
- Make sure that the pool gates are at a height young children can’t
reach. Place an alarm on the gate that alerts you when it’s been opened.
- Keep rescue equipment close to the pool at all times. This should include
a shepherd’s hook (a long pole with a hook at the end) and a life
Instead of using inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties,”
use life vests approved by the
U.S. Coast Guard.
Children over the age of one are at a lower risk of drowning after receiving
formal swimming instruction. Swimming lessons are not recommended for
babies younger than
one year of age.
Avoid using a pool with broken or missing drain covers. Suction from pool
and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Ask your pool operator if
your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the
Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- If a child is missing, look for them in the pool first.
- Share these tips and other safety instructions with family, friends, and
Open Water and Boat Safety
While pools may be the most common place to enjoy the water this summer,
you could find yourself swimming in a body of open water at some point.
To practice proper safety during your swim,
follow these instructions:
- Make sure that lifeguards are watching children at all times.
- Don’t allow your child to dive into the water unless you’re
sure of the depth of the water and you’ve checked for underwater objects.
- Never allow your child to swim in canals or any fast moving water.
- Make sure that your child understands the dangers of rip currents. If you
are caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore until you escape the
current, and then swim back to shore.
After going for a swim in the ocean or the lake, you may decide to take
a ride on a boat. Keep yourself and your children safe by
taking these precautions:
- Have your children wear life jackets at all times when on a boat, dock,
or near a body of water. Adults should wear life jackets for their own
protection, and to set a good example.
- Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child and is not too loose.
- Boating under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some prescription medications
is always dangerous, even as a passenger.
Consider signing your child up for swimming lessons, and remember to swim safely!