5 Water Safety Tips for this Summer and Beyond

families-and-kids-playing-at-pool
Photo Courtesy: Jessica Gibson

By Haley Wen, Swimming World College Intern.

This summer many families will undoubtedly be packing up their towels and floaties and coolers to head out to the beach or the pool for a fun day in the sun. Going to the beach or pool can be a great day for the whole family! It’s a great chance to make memories, get some sun and exercise all at the same time. Yet in the midst of all the fun, it is important to remember water safety.

One big mistake that people can make, especially at the beach where tides can be unpredictable, is assuming because they and their kids know how to swim, there is no risk in going in a large body of water. According to the CDC, unintentional drowning is unfortunately the cause of death of about ten people per day. One in five of those deaths are children ages 14 and younger. 

Keep yourself and loved ones safe all summer and beyond with these five water safety tips.

1) Swim Lessons

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Photo Courtesy: White77

This one seems obvious, but put your kids in swim lessons and start yourself, if necessary. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to learn to swim. Take it from singer John Legend! Water safety is absolutely essential. At the end of the day, if you’re an adult, you should take the initiative and take responsibility for your own water safety.

2) Know Before You Go

Check out the venue before arriving. Will there be lifeguards on duty? No lifeguards means it might not be as safe of an option if not everyone in your group is a strong swimmer. If you’re going to the beach, check the beach flags. If there is a rip tide warning or anything else that looks dangerous, you might not want anyone in your party to venture out too far in the water. Know the rules beforehand, like how old a child needs to be to use a slide or swim unattended. Knowledge is power when it comes to water safety, so be prepared and know what the situation will be before you arrive!

3) Skip the Water Wings

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Photo Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard

Water wings are considered a toy, not a safety device. If your child is still learning how to swim, they should be wearing a life jacket and not water wings. Any floating toy like water wings, a kickboard or an intertube is no substitute for a Coast Guard certified life jacket. This is key to water safety.

4) Learn To Recognize a Drowning Event

In the movies when someone drowns, they yell and scream and thrash around in the water. There is usually a huge commotion while the victim yells for help. In real life, it’s possible a drowning victim could look like that, but more often than not, they won’t. In fact, in 10% of drownings, capable adults are nearby to help but don’t because they don’t recognize the victim is drowning. When someone is drowning, they most likely will not be able to call out for help, and they cannot wave or splash around because their body cannot perform voluntary movements. All movements are geared toward survival and keeping their head above water. This is called the instinctive drowning response, a term coined by Dr. Francesco A. Pia.

5) Learn CPR

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Photo Courtesy: LAFD Photo, Justin Johnson

CPR isn’t just for lifeguards or medical professionals. It’s an important part of water safety, but it’s also an important skill for anyone and everyone to know. You never know when a cardiac emergency will strike, whether at the beach, pool, home or the grocery store. Administering CPR could be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Check out the Red Cross website to find a class near you to get certified. At the very least, brush up on the procedure – it’s not how it looks on TV!

At the End of the Day…

You’ll find it much easier to enjoy your trip to the beach or pool knowing that you’ve taken precautions to have a safe visit. Use these water safety tips to take the safety of yourself and your loved ones into your own hands.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.