During the summer, swimming is a great way to cool off. However, if pool safety is ignored, your family can be at risk. About 10 unintentional drownings occurred each day from 2005–09, and two of those ten are 14 year old or less. Here are a few safety tips to follow the next time you and your family go swimming:
Learn to Swim
One of the best protective measures for water safety is knowing how to swim. Research shows that children between the ages of one and four are less likely to drown if they have taken swimming lessons. Swim classes are often organized by swimming proficiency and age, so there should be a class for every family member.
Swim in the Proper Areas
Never swim in restricted areas. Even if you are a great swimmer, there is probably a valid reason for a particular pool or area of a pool being off-limits.
Use the Buddy System
Even if a lifeguard is present, don't allow anyone in your family to swim alone. If the pool is full, a buddy can ensure that everyone is always accounted for.
Don't Drink and Swim
Even a few drinks can affect your ability to swim. Impaired judgment and water safety are a poor combination. Alcohol is a factor in about 70% of deaths that involve water recreation among adults and adolescents.
Use Life Jackets
If there is a non-swimmer in your family, make sure that he or she dons a life jacket. Look for a stamp in the life jacket to verify it is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition, make sure that the weight limit of the jacket matches that of the person wearing it.
Know the Pool
Before your kids dive in, make sure that the water is at least 9 feet deep. Diving accidents result in about 800 spinal cord injuries annually. Of these accidents, 90% occur in water that is less than six feet deep.
Choose a Supervised Swimming Pool
About 57 percent of drownings occur in a natural body of water. It may be best to forgo a lake or river and choose a community pool instead.
If you are planning a few swimming trips for your family this summer, make sure you observe water safety rules. In addition, choose a pool that is supervised by a certified lifeguard job. A trained professional can help keep your family safe even if you get a little distracted.