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Your Swimming Safety Checklist

Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2017
No matter how confident you are in your swimming abilities, unintentional drowning is a risk whenever you swim or are by the water.

No matter how confident you are in your swimming abilities, unintentional drowning is a risk whenever you swim or are by the water. Every day around 10 people die from drowning. Nonfatal drowning treated in emergency departments can also cause serious long-term brain damage and disability. Whether you are heading to the pool, a lake, or the beach this summer, take important steps to prevent drowning.

Risk Factors

Nearly 80 percent of drowning deaths are among men, and one in five deaths are children. Children are more likely to drown in home swimming pools, while those over 15 years of age are much more likely to drown in natural water settings. Other risk factors for drowning include alcohol use and seizure disorders. Boating and water sports also bring on additional risks especially when participants are not properly trained and equipped with personal flotation devices.

Ways to Prevent Drowning

  • Use the buddy system. Never swim alone in an unsupervised area.
  • Make sure that there is at least one adult for every 2 to 3 children swimming.
  • Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should remain within an arm’s length of an adult.
  • When using public pools or beaches, make sure to go when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Pay attention to beach warnings about tides and undertows; even the strongest swimmers cannot challenge nature.
  • Take swimming lessons. It’s never too late, and many programs—like YMCA—hold classes for adults. Infants can start lessons when as young as one year of age, and formal lessons have been linked to a reduced risk of drowning deaths.
  • Do not use alcohol before swimming.
  • Make sure all boats have proper storage and use of personal flotation devices and life jackets.
  • Pool owners should also make sure their pools are fenced in to prevent children from entering without supervision.
  • Make sure you are trained in CPR.
This summer, help reduce the risk of drowning deaths by taking these steps to take care of your family and yourself.