Disregarding water safety recommendations and regulations can result in accidents and drowning. “Every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Statistics show that drowning is the second leading cause of death for children younger than 14 and the sixth leading cause of death for all ages.
In the pool. The most important water safety tip, states the American Red Cross, is learning to swim. This is the most important safety measure for pool safety, as well as safety in and around lakes, oceans and other bodies of water. Other important safety tips when in or near a pool include:
- Never leave a child unattended or unobserved in or near a pool.
- Keep a phone nearby in case 911 needs to be called.
- Always keep lifesaving equipment close and know how to use it if needed.
- At a public pool, only swim when a lifeguard is present.
- Do not dive into a pool unless it is in an area that is specified for diving.
- Enforce water safety rules with kids. For example, inexperienced swimmers are not allowed in water deeper than chest height.
- Never swim when tired or impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
- When swimming in an outdoor pool, never swim during storms or bad weather. Lightening and water can be a deadly combination.
In a lake. The best safety tip for lake swimmers is to swim in designated swimming areas that are supervised by a trained lifeguard. Like hiking, lake swimmers always should have a buddy. Never swim alone. In addition, follow these tips for a safe swimming in lakes:
- Avoid swimming under docks and floating rafts.
- Never jump off a dock or raft without looking first. If you land on another swimmer, injuries can occur.
- Like pool swimming, never dive in headfirst in shallow areas or areas where the water depth is unknown. It is safer to jump in feet first.
- Never swim in lakes that seem dirty or polluted, even if there is signage that states swimming is allowed. Be smart and scout the area first before swimming. If the beach or dock area is littered and has unpleasant smells, it’s probably not a good place to swim.
- Remember that lakes can have strong currents. Never swim out past the designated safety area.
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In the ocean/at the beach. A relaxing day at the beach can turn into a tragedy when basic safety procedures are ignored. When visiting the ocean or your local beach area, only swim in spots designated for swimmers. A lifeguard should be present. Ocean swimmers should swim with a buddy, same as lake swimmers. Remember when swimming out at the beach, you need enough energy to swim back. Be careful how far out into the ocean you swim, always conserving enough strength and energy to get back to shore. If you become caught in a current, swim out of it by swimming across it. Be aware of ocean life. Some creatures such as jellyfish do sting. Watch for seaweed and avoid becoming entangled in it or other plant life.
Most water safety tips can be applied to any body of water. For example, children should never be left unattended or unobserved around any type of water. Swimming alone, even in a backyard pool can be dangerous. Heat and sunstroke can happen at the pool, lake or beach. Be prepared by staying hydrated and cooling your body in the shade as often as possible.