This month is a busy one for most families, packed full of graduations and final days of school, field days and other celebrations. However, after all the business subsides, summer will be upon us. Before you begin pool days and trips to the beach, assure your family is ready to be safe from water dangers such as drowning.

Important Water Safety Rules

Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.  Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

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.

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. There was just a recent story reported in the news about a woman walking along the shore with her 4-year-old child and he was swept out to sea due to some large waves and undertows.

If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.  Avoid alcohol use during water activities. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.  Do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings.   Make sure 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.

If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.  Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.  Finally, keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Maintain Constant Supervision

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 What to Do in an Emergency.

Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.  If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Drowning can happen to anyone, even if you feel you are a family of excellent swimmers. Watch for signs of fatigue or distress while in the water, and follow up with your physician if your child shows any signs of “dry drowning”.  In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Unlike dry drowning, delayed or secondary drowning occurs when swimmers have taken water into their lungs.

No matter if you are headed to the beach or to the local pool, keep your family safe by taking breaks, drinking plenty of water, and keeping the sunscreen nearby. If you do experience an accident in the water, and need legal advice, we can answer any questions you might have.  Give us a call to set up your free consultation.