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8 tips for water safety

Following these tips this summer will help you keep your family safe from water-related emergencies
3 Minutes
• 
Published
June 14, 2022

Water activities are an excellent way to stay cool and have fun during the summer. As the days get warmer, you may have plans to visit a beach, aquatic center, pool, lake, water park, or take part in other recreational water activities. Regardless of your plans, it is essential that safety is always a priority. Without preparation, swimming can be a very dangerous activity—according to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death for children 1 to 4 years of age in the U.S.

Ensure your family's safety with these 8 tips:

1. Invest in swim lessons for your family

If your child does not know how to swim, or is not a strong swimmer, consider signing them up for swim lessons at a local pool or YMCA. Being a strong swimmer reduces the risk of drowning and improves water safety skills. 

2. Provide constant adult supervision

Even when lifeguards are present, be sure your family is always in your line of sight. When your child is in the water, you should always be able to make eye contact with them. If your child comes out of the water, be sure they notify you before they go back in. If you’re swimming with a younger child, you should always be within arm's length. If your child is in the water, put your phone or book away. Make sure your child takes breaks to ensure they don’t get over-tired. 

3. Use the buddy system 

Teach your child to always stay with a buddy when they are in the water. They should never swim or play in the water alone. Using the buddy system ensures there is always someone right nearby if something does go wrong. Even the strongest swimmers should always have a buddy with them. 

4. Wear a life jacket

Non-swimmers and inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast-guard certified life jacket. Remember, inflatable toys like noodles, water wings, or floaties are not a safe substitute for life jackets. These water flotation devices should only be worn when an adult is present to supervise. 

 

5. Swim where there are lifeguards

When at the beach or pool, swim in the areas where there is a designated lifeguard present. 

6. Be sure to check the weather

If there’s a storm nearby, make sure to remove your family from water, as lightning conducts electricity. Try to stay out of the water on especially windy days, as rip currents are extremely dangerous. If at the beach, be sure to check the water before permitting your children to enter. Water that is discolored, choppy, foamy, filled with debris, or moving in uneven patterns away from the shore is likely dangerous and should be avoided.

7. Avoid diving

Teach your child to always enter the water feet first. If they are interested in diving head first, be sure they know the correct way, and that they are in a designated diving area with a lifeguard present. If there is not a designated diving area, do not allow diving, even if the water seems deep enough. 

8. Learn and practice CPR

Learn how to respond to emergencies by learning CPR. You can enroll in a CPR class and get your certification through the American Red Cross, a hospital near you, or community organizations. 

Following these tips his summer will help keep your family safe from water-related emergencies. To further your preparedness, complete the Red Cross’ free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers Online Course. The course focuses on developing an awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize those risks, especially for young children.

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