When the sun is out and the weather gets warm, people flock to the water — whether it’s the beach, lakes, rivers or a backyard pool. But wherever there’s water, there’s also danger lurking beneath the surface, even if you don’t live in an area with alligators or other threats.
That danger? Drowning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people drown every day — and two of those are children 14 or younger. And while this story is about swimming, don’t think that’s the only time you need to be vigilant. A baby can drown in just 1 inch of water, and a curious toddler can drown after falling into a toilet, bucket or even a fish tank. So keep the bathroom door closed if you have young ones at home, always supervise bath time, close toilet lids and make sure buckets are stored indoors and empty.
The biggest risk for most people comes during recreational activities around water, though. That’s why it’s so important to know how to stay safe — and help others if the need arises. Here are some general tips from the American Red Cross:
Of course, not all water outings are the same, and although the tips above are a good start, different situations require different safety precautions, too.
At the pool
Among children 1 to 4 years old, most drowning deaths occur in home swimming pools — a statistic the “Pool Safely” campaign from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission aims to combat. Here are some additional tips if you have a pool, live near one or visit one often.
At the beach
According to the American Red Cross, you need different skills to swim in the ocean, so make sure you’re comfortable beforehand, and follow these guidelines:
Additional tips for lakes, rivers and streams
If someone is in danger in a natural setting, reach out to them using anything that can extend your reach — a pole, tree branch, even a towel. You also can throw a floating object to them for support. But typically, you shouldn’t go in yourself, as that can put you in just as much danger. Let the professionals handle water rescues.
Summer fun in and around the water is for people of all ages — just keep in mind that some people need more supervision than others, and everyone needs to keep safety in mind at all times. See you out in the sun!