By taking the proper safety precautions, everyone can enjoy the water without worrying.
With as many opportunities as there are to cool off and have fun in the water during the summer months, there are just as many opportunities for dangerous situations. By taking the proper safety precautions, everyone can enjoy the water without worrying.
Here’s what your kids — and you — need to know for summer.
“We are asking everyone to do their part by being water-smart,” says Don Lauritzen, communications officer for the American Red Cross. “It all starts with everyone in the family learning about water safety and being able to swim.”
“It’s never too late, or too early, to learn how to swim,” adds Becky Turpin, director of home and community safety for the National Safety Council. “Enroll children in swim lessons and consider adult swim lessons for those who never had the opportunity to learn as a child.”
Children should always make sure to follow the rules at a pool, and the Red Cross advises that adults should make sure to stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers.
Safety for pool owners doesn’t end at being safe in the water.
“Enclose your pool with four-sided, 4-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates,” says Lauritzen.
Beach and lake safety
“Be aware of added risks for natural bodies of water — rip tides, currents and drop-offs can catch children and adults alike off guard,” says Turpin. “These can change without notice as well. Swim in designated swimming areas or where you know the water conditions.”
Take notice of whether there is a lifeguard on duty and stay in those areas, and always swim with a buddy, never alone.
“Drowning happens quickly and quietly,” says Turpin. “It’s not like the movies with a lot of splashing or yelling. If you think someone is struggling in the water, ask them if they are OK or need help. If they can’t or don’t answer, assume they need immediate help.”
Both the Red Cross and National Safety Council stress that, no matter where it is — pool, beach, lake or otherwise — children should always be supervised by an attentive caregiver when in or near the water. That means someone who is not reading, not using their cellphone and not drinking alcohol should be watching the children. The same expectation should be made clear to nannies, babysitters or other travel companions.
“In large groups of people, everyone assumes someone else is watching the kids,” says Turpin. “Don’t let anyone assume. Declare who is watching the children at all times.”