Water Safety

As the weather starts to get warmer, we’ll begin to open pools, de-winterize boats, and dust off water skis and paddleboards. Water activities present their own set of risks, so make sure you’re taking the proper precautions. It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line or apply sunscreen. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in home pools and hot tubs, at the beach or in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, bathtubs, and even buckets. 

Swimmers should keep a few safety precautions in mind:

  • Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim; swim lessons are available for all ages
  • Never swim alone
  • Learn CPR and rescue techniques
  • Make sure the body of water matches your skill level; swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river, where more strength is needed to handle currents
  • Make sure you have a life jacket for everyone on board when boating, and children 13 and under are required by the US Coast Guard to wear them while the boat is underway
  • Check inflatable toys and accessories for leaks before using
  • If you do get caught in a current, don’t try to fight it; stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard
  • Don’t push or jump on others
  • Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas
  • Avoid alcohol when swimming

Always be aware and be in the present moment when enjoying water activities with your children. Following are a few water safety precautions:

  • Never leave your child alone; if you have to leave, take your child with you
  • Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child, but keep in mind that lessons do not make your child “drown-proof”
  • Lifeguards aren’t babysitters; always keep your eyes on your child
  • Don’t let children play around drains and suction fittings
  • Never consume alcohol when operating a boat, and always make sure everyone is wearing U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets
  • Don’t underestimate the power of water; even rivers and lakes can have undertows
  • Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts handy
  • Get training in CPR
  • If a child is missing, check the water first

Every pool, lake and warm summer day holds the possibility of new, fun summer experiences. All you need to add is your undivided attention.