What's the No. 1 water safety rule? Don't swim without this checklist
It's hot out there. When summer temperatures sizzle, nothing is more appealing than a cool dip in the water, whether it’s at the beach or in a pool.
But summer water sports come with hazards. In fact, an estimated 10 people die from drowning each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And two out of the ten are children aged 14 and younger.
To keep water fun safe, Wyatt Werneth, the national spokesperson for the American Lifeguard Association, has some tips.
1. Most important among them are knowing how to swim and never swimming alone.
2 No matter how comfortable you are in the water, always swim where a lifeguard is near.
3. Start your kids in a swimming program when they are young. As they grow older, kids are often reticent to learn. And if you don’t know how to swim, remember it’s never too late to learn.
4. Swim with a buddy. Many drownings involve single swimmers. If you can’t find someone to swim with, at least find someone to watch from the side of the pool or on the beach.
5. If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore till you reach a spot where the current is weak. Most rip currents are narrow.
6. Swim sober: alcohol is a major factor in many drownings.
7. Don’t use flotation devices, like inflatable rafts, to take you places where you couldn’t swim. If you fall off, you could drown.
8. Always wear a life jacket when boating. Some 80 percent of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning.
9. Protect your head and neck when diving and body surfing. Before diving you should check for depth and obstructions and remember that feet first is far safer than head first. When body surfing make sure you have at least one hand extended in front of you.
10. At your home pool remember that you are the lifeguard. NEVER leave a child alone anywhere near a pool. Make sure your pool is completely fenced and that the fence is locked and there is no access from your home to the pool when you’re not there.
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