When you consider the U.S. Census Bureau shows there are 8.8 million residential and public-use swimming pools in the United States, and, the U.S Centers for Disease Control reports drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children aged 1-14 years, being safe in and near the water is important.
May is National Water Safety Month, making it the perfect opportunity to review the following 35 ways to keep your kids (and yourself) safe in and around the water. Keeping yourself and your kids safe makes swimming more fun. Follow the rules and better enjoy your time in and around the water.
1. Always swim with a buddy.
2. Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child.
3. Don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning.
4. Appoint a designated “Water Watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
Related: Read more Water Watcher information here.
5. Know how to identify swimmers in need.
6. Learn CPR. starting CPR immediately, rather than waiting for emergency personnel, can help reduce the chance of brain damage.
7. Children should never be in or around a pool alone.
8. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count!
9. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
10. Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. Facebook can wait.
11. Check the water depth. If you can’t swim, it’s best to stay in the shallow water until you’re a more confident, stronger swimmer.
12. Don’t take risks.
13. Remind your children not to run near the pool. They may slip and fall, which could not only cause serious injuries, but could also cause a fall into the water.
14. No diving in the shallow end of the pool. The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping.
15. Formal swimming lessons and water-safety skills training can start at a young age.
Related: Learn more about British Swim School’s programs.
16. Even if you are a strong swimmer, do not swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being under the influence of either or both seriously impairs judgment and coordination.
17. Never swim during a thunderstorm. Exit the water immediately when you hear thunder.
18. As fun as it is to swim with friends or family, refrain from horseplay such as dunking, hanging on to someone or allowing them to hang on to you while in the water.
19. If you have residential pool, install a pool fence. The CDC recommends four-sided pool fences at least 4 feet high with self-closing, self-latching gates unreachable by children and that open outward.
20. Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.
21. If you’re not a good swimmer or you’re just learning to swim, don’t go in water that’s so deep you can’t touch the bottom.
Related: Take your water safety pledge today!
22. When you’re at the beach, It’s a good idea to swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard.
23. Watch for warning flags (and know what they mean).
24. Going to a waterpark? If you’re not a confident swimmer, wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
25. When using water slides, always go feet first.
26. Teach kids not to drink the pool water. To prevent choking, never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in water.
27. Watch out for the dangerous “toos” – Don’t get too tired, too cold, too far from safety, exposed to too much sun or do too much strenuous activity.
28. Apply sunscreen on all exposed skin to ensure maximum skin protection. Hats, visors and shirts are recommended to prevent overexposure.
29. Don’t take chances by overestimating your swimming skills.
30. Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
31. Empty blow-up pools after each use.
32. Reduce the risk of electrocution by keeping electrical appliances away from the pool.
33. The steps of the pool ladder should be at least three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on both sides small enough for a child to grasp. There should be a ladder at both ends of the pool.
34. Never push others into the pool.
35. Hydrate. It’s important to stay hydrated while swimming, just as with any other physical activity. However, you should not drink the water from your swimming pool.
Keeping yourself and your kids safe makes swimming more fun. Follow the rules and better enjoy your time in and around the water.