MAKE THE WATER WORK FOR YOU THIS SUMMER
TAKE CARE TO LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT SWIMMING ENVIRONMENTS
The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in all types of water is to learn to swim. The American Red Cross has
swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. CPR and First Aid training can save lives in an emergency. If you are not already trained, now is a great time to learn.
Different types of water may require separate skills for swimmers. By understanding different water environments, from oceans to lakes to pools, you can help to keep yourself
and your family safe. Take Care in all types of water to prevent swimming accidents this summer.
- Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
- Never swim alone.
- Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a
lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.
- Don't try to swim against a current if caught in one. Swim gradually out of the current by swimming across it.
- Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.
- Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
Lake and River Swimming
- Select a supervised area. A trained lifeguard who can help in an emergency is the best safety factor. Even
good swimmers can have an unexpected medical emergency in the water. Never swim alone.
- Select an area that is clean and well-maintained. A clean bathhouse, clean restrooms, and a litter-free
environment show the management's concern for your health and safety.
- Select an area that has good water quality and safe natural conditions. Murky water, hidden underwater
objects, unexpected drop-offs, and aquatic plant life are hazards. Water pollution can cause health problems for swimmers. Strong tides, big waves, and currents
can turn an event that began as fun into a tragedy.
- Make sure the water is deep enough before entering head-first. Too many swimmers are seriously injured
every year by entering head-first into water that is too shallow. A feet-first entry is much safer than diving.
- Be sure rafts and docks are in good condition. A well-run open-water facility
maintains its rafts and docks in good condition, with no loose boards or exposed nails. Never swim under a raft or dock. Always look before jumping off a dock or raft to be sure no one is in the way.
- Avoid drainage ditches. Drainage ditches for water run-off are not good
places for swimming or playing in the water. After heavy rains, they can quickly change into raging rivers that can easily take a human life; even the
strongest swimmers are no match for the power of the water. Fast water and debris in the current make ditches very dangerous.
- Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with
vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. The house should not be included as a part of the barrier.
- Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence.
- Post CPR instructions and 9-1-1 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
- Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it.
Pole, rope, and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are recommended. Don't rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot
replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
- Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
- Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
Swimming Safety for Children
- Never leave a child unobserved around water. Adult eyes must be on the
child at all times. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.
- Keep your cell phone with you. If you don't have one, install a phone by the
pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency. At a swimming facility, locate the nearest pay phone and keep change with you.
- Learn American Red Cross Infant/Child CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child know CPR.
- If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan
the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.