Stay Safe Around Water

Image of a kids with life jackets on by the water

Cooling off in a pool or lake is one of the joys of summer. Unfortunately, every year, children and adults drown due to a lack of supervision or poor choices. The most important thing you can do to help keep your family safe is to make sure everyone knows how to swim. In addition, the American Red Cross offers these tips:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child's life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person's ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body's ability to stay warm.
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child's reach.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
  • Actively supervise kids whenever around the water-even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach-designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm's reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Return to top