Prepare and Practice Water Safety

During the warmest months of the year, swimming is a great way to cool off and escape from every-day stress. Pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water can provide people with a summer escape, and can be great places to spend family time. Though it may seem that swimming is a harmless activity, bodies of water are dangerous. There are many safety precautions people should take while being near a body of water, and actions people should be prepared to take in the case of an emergency.

According to the American Red Cross, the best thing you can do to help your family stay safe is to enroll in age-appropriate swim lessons. You can get more information about swim lessons and safety by contacting the Training Support Center at 1-800-RED-CROSS or

Here are some more safety tips to keep everyone safe in the water this summer:

  • ·         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.

In the case of an emergency, you should be prepared to call 9-1-1 and have necessary equipment on hand such as a first aid kit and proper floatation devices. If your child is ever missing, check a nearby body of water first. When it comes to pool safety, a second could mean the difference between life and death.

For more information, visit the American Red Cross website ( or the National Water Safety Month website (


Filed Under: Health | Healthy Lifestyle