Always Swim with a Grown Up
Play it safe in the water. This means staying out of any body of water – the ocean, lakes, ponds, rivers, pools, hot tubs, spas, and whirlpools – if no grown-up or lifeguard is present.
Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when In or Around Water
When on a boat, everyone needs a seat. If there is no seat for you, don’t go. In addition, everyone on the boat needs his or her own personal flotation device (PFD). Call your local Red Cross chapter for information on U.S. or Canadian Coast Guard-approved PFDs. A PFD will add buoyancy to your body (to help you float), hold your head and body higher in the water for better visibility, and help keep your body warm. Air-filled swimming aids such as inner tubes are not substitutes for approved PFDs. Wear your PFD the entire time you are on a boat, when you are fishing, or if you are a nonswimmer or uncomfortable around the water.
Learn and Practice the Water Safety Rules
Here are some helpful hints for keeping safe in the water:
When you go swimming in a new place, always check with the lifeguard or a grown-up first. If swimming in a lake, pond, or river, wade into the water feet first, never jump or dive. Have the lifeguard or grown-up check to see how deep the water is – there may be branches, rocks, shallow areas, sandbars, or other dangerous items under the water that you can’t see. Make sure you only dive in areas approved for diving – don’t dive off piers or rocks. Always raise your hands over your head when diving. Finally, never let your friends dare you into diving dangerously.
When is ice safe? There is no sure answer!
Drowning is the second-leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for people ages 5 to 24, according to the National Safety Council’s 1996 Accident Facts Report. Approximately 5,000 people drown each year. Drownings may occur during swimming, boating, hunting, fishing, and even taking a bath. Small children can even drown in a bucket of water. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around water is to learn how to swim and how to perform CPR in case an emergency occurs.
Childhood drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds and typically when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision. For every child that drowns, an additional four are hospitalized for near-drownings. Fifteen percent of children admitted for near-drownings die in the hospital.