Take Steps to Stay Safe In and Around Water

Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))

Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88 percent among children aged one to four years. (Source: Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2009)

Seventy percent of African-American and sixty percent of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, having ‘low’ or ‘no’ swimming ability compared to Caucasians, putting them at risk for drowning. (Source: National research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis)

Swimming and pool play are the most popular summer activities. Follow these safety tips whenever you are in, on or around water.

Check the local weather forecast before swimming. Strong winds, waves and thunderstorms with lightning strikes can be dangerous.

Supervise with a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Drowning can occur quickly and quietly, so adults should refrain from distracting activity while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.

Use the Buddy System by not swimming alone. Select pool locations with lifeguards when possible.

Flotation toys are not safety devices. Air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.

Learn to Swim. This is the most important safety element. Even when children have had formal swimming lessons, the need for careful supervision when children are in the water is constant.

Make Water Safety a Priority! The best thing you can do to help your family stay safe is to enroll in age-appropriate swim lessons; for family members of all ages. Contact your local park district or the American Red Cross: 1-800-RED-CROSS.

For more information on water safety, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/index.html.