It’s hot this week. Like, hot-hot. And this weekend looks like its going to be a scorcher. With seriously warm weather coming, you and your family might be planning to spend some time in, or near, water this weekend. Whether you’re planning a trip to the beach, to the lake, or just a casual Saturday around the kiddie pool, it is critical to be thinking about water safety at all times.
Why is water safety important?
It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line or apply sunscreen. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in home pools and hot tubs, at the beach or in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, bathtubs, and even buckets.
How do you ensure water safety?
Being “water safe” means that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones while enjoying time in, and around, the water. These steps include:
- Buddying Up: Always swim with other people. Designate a buddy from your household to swim with before you enter the water.
- Suiting Up: Always wear life jackets on boats. Make sure everyone has U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets at all times.
- Knowing Your Limits: Only swim as far as you can safely get back. Don’t hold your breath for longer than you can. Stay close to shore and rest if you are cold or tired.
- Knowing the Water: Don’t enter cold water or very fast-moving water. Always jump feet first into unknown water.
- Keeping an Eye Out: Actively supervise young children and inexperienced swimmers. Stay within arm’s reach and avoid distractions.
How do you make water safety a priority, in every location and situation?
Use “Layers of Protection” In & Around Water
There are things that you can actively do to ensure water safety and prevent drowning. Here are just a few:
- Even if lifeguards are present, you (or another responsible adult) should stay with your children.
- Be a “water watcher” – provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising; avoid distractions, including cell phones.
- Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
- Take specific precautions for the water environment you are in, such as:
- Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing that separates the water from the house.
- At the beach, always swim in a lifeguarded area.
Know the Risks & Take Sensible Precautions – Even If You’re a Strong Swimmer
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including certain prescription medications) before or while swimming, diving or supervising swimmers.
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or fishing, even if you don’t intend to enter the water.
Ensure That the Entire Family Learns How to Swim
Now is a great time to look into swim lessons for everyone in your family! Most fitness centers with a pool offer swim lessons for kiddos 6 months and older. For a list of swimming lessons being offered in Skagit County, go to: https://skagit.kidinsider.com/pools. Note: Some information may have changed due to COVID.
Know how to respond in case of emergency
One of the best, and proactive things that you can do to ensure water safety is to learn how to respond during an emergency. Want to become CPR certified? Find a course nearby!
Some helpful links:
The American Red Cross has fantastic resources available that cover every water safety topic. For more information, visit: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html.
Links to specific topics: