10 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe Around Water

Summer is around the corner, and you can’t wait to pack the beach bag and hit the sand!

Or the pool deck! Or a boat! Whatever your preference, you’re not alone. Every year thousands of Americans plan their vacations or days off around water activities. But a word of caution before you get caught up in your plans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about ten people die each day from drowning, and of those, one in five are children age 14 or younger. It’s the leading cause of accidental death among children aged 1 to 4. And boating accidents add another 332 deaths per year. So, whatever your water fun preference, make sure you and your loved ones don’t end up as a statistic by following these ten water safety rules.

  1. Never swim alone. Always swim with at least one friend, better yet as a group, so if anything happens, somebody is available to help or call for help. No matter how old you are or how good a swimmer you are, it is never advisable to swim alone.

  2. Don’t leave children unattended. An adult should always supervise young children around water. Don’t put an older child in charge. If there are a group of parents, rotate the responsibility and take turns watching them.

  3. Know what to do in an emergency. Suppose you are on or near water; you should know how to swim. Sign your kids up for swim lessons. If you’re an adult, look for adult swim lessons or water safety classes in your area. At least one adult in your group should be an experienced swimmer.

  4. Take a CPR class and renew it regularly. And throw in a first aid class as well so you know what to do in case of heatstroke, dehydration, choking, or any other accident that can occur during a day on the water.

  5. Have and use safety equipment. Keep a first aid kit handy. If you’re in a boat, always wear your life jackets. Researchers estimate that using lifejackets could reduce the risk of boating-related deaths by half. If you own a pool, have all the required safety equipment available, including a throw flotation device. Consider installing a pool alarm to alert you when someone has entered the pool area or the water, and make sure all drains in your pool include anti-entrapment drain covers.

  6. Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Apply early and often. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply it 15 minutes before going outside and reapply throughout the day.

  7. Listen to your body. It’s important to know when you’ve had enough. Take regular breaks from activity, make sure you eat and drink enough water, and avoid the hottest hours of the day. Your body will thank you.

  8. Water and alcohol don’t mix. Stay sober when you’re near the water. The percentage of drownings each year caused by alcohol use is as high as 30%. You shouldn’t drink and drive a boat. But the same is valid for swimming, rafting, canoeing, and using flotation toys.

  9. Water and Electricity don’t mix. At least not when you’re trying to have fun at the pool. Make sure your pool and hot tub are inspected annually for outdated wiring and underwater lighting systems.

    Radios and TVs can also cause electrocution, so make sure any near your pool is mounted and stabilized. All of these can cause electrocution.

  10. Check your chemicals. Your pool and hot tub likely came with specific instructions on what the chemical levels should be and how often you should check them. Follow those rules! Swimmers can get sick from both too much bacteria in the water, and too many chemicals, so it’s crucial to maintain the recommended balance of PH and free chlorine. To help matters out, make sure young children take regular bathroom breaks and ask guests to shower before getting in the water.