Summer is finally here; the weather is warm, the kids are out of school, and everyone wants to be outside. Water safety and keeping cool in the summer heat is critical for safety and for comfort alike. There’s nothing better for keeping cool and enjoying summer than a good swim! There are plenty of benefits to water activity but it’s also important to understand the safety concerns and be aware of procedures that alleviate those concerns.

Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years of age.

Here are a few safety tips to help keep your family safe in the water this summer:

The first step in water safety is to stay close, stay alert, and watch closely.

  • Never leave your child unattended near the water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other things that can trap them.
  • Have a means of contacting emergency services at all times.
  • Don’t rely on floaties, inflatable toys, or pool noodles for life-preserving.
  • Share your personal safety instructions with family, friends, or neighbors so everyone is on the same page.

Teach, learn, and practice water safety.

  • Teach your children to swim and identify their limits.
  • Learn CPR for children and adults and update those skills regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in an emergency.
  • Swim with a buddy; there’s safety in numbers!
  • Avoid alcohol. It impairs your judgment and coordination.
  • Enter the water feet first. It’s not always easy to determine water depth.
  • Always be aware of body temperature; don’t get too hot and don’t swim if it’s too cold. This can hinder your ability and motor skills.

When you’re swimming in a river or lake, your swimming skills aren’t the same kind of skills you need in a pool. The earlier it is in the summer the more uncertain the currents of a river will be, so be sure to use caution. Always enter the water feet first as you don’t know the depth and it’s harder to gauge when you can’t see the bottom.

Make sure you know that rivers, lakes, and streams are natural bodies of water and as such, there can be any number of things that could injure or drown you. Watch for:

  • Tree limbs
  • Boulders
  • Weeds
  • Logs
  • Trash

These things can hinder your ability to swim as well as you otherwise might. Wear a life jacket just to be sure! Swim safe and have fun!