Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for kids under the age of five? Here are some practical safety tips for summer water fun from The American Red Cross and Colin’s Hope, a local drowning prevention organization who envisions a world where no child drowns.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Never leave children alone around water whether it is in a pool, wading pool, drainage ditch, creek, pond, or lake.
- Swimming safely means only swimming in designated areas.
- Constantly watch children who are swimming or playing in water. They need an adult or certified lifeguard watching and within reach.
- Secure access to swimming pools with fences, self-closing and latching gates, and water surface alarms.
- Completely remove the pool cover when the pool is in use.
- Store and secure water toys away from the water when not in use, so they don’t attract a small child.
- Don’t assume young children will use good judgment around water.
- Be ready for emergencies. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy and learn CPR.
- Find out if your child’s friends or neighbors have pools.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
- Don’t dive headfirst—protect your neck. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
- Educate yourself on beach safety and rip current safety.
- When at the beach, check conditions before entering the water. Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.
For more information on water safety tips and to take the water safety quiz, visit www.colinshope.org