Thankfully, parents can play a key role in protecting the children they love from drowning.
Fence it off. Install a four–sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when a parent cannot supervise them. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.
Make life jackets a “must.” Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Inflatable rings and noodles are not flotation devices.
Enroll in Swim Lessons. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision is necessary when children are in or around the water.
Learn CPR. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and get recertified every two years. CPR can help a child stay alive with little or no brain damage.
Be on the look out. Supervise young children at all times around bathtubs, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water. Adults watching kids near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, or texting and talking on the phone.
A Special Note About Rip Currents:
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water moving in the offshore direction. They can occur along any coastline with breaking waves, but are prevalent along most U.S. coastlines, including the seacoast region from Ipswich, MA to Portsmouth, NH. A rip current pulls swimmers away from the shore into deeper water at speeds of up to 8 feet per second – faster than an Olympic swimmer. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea, and thus are dangerous to all swimmers.
- Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents (e.g., water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore). If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore; once free of the current, swim toward shore.
Source: CDC, NOAA.gov