Stay safe during summer swim outings
You can greatly reduce the chances of you or your friends and family becoming drowning or near-drowning victims by following a few simple safety tips:
Keep an eye on friends and family.
Drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult. Drowning is known as the "silent killer" because most victims slip beneath the water without a sound. Paying close attention to those around you can drastically reduce such accidents.
Learn to swim! The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability.
• Try to swim in designated swim areas. These areas are properly marked, and motorboats are prohibited.
• Swim near the shore. Drowning most often occurs within about 10 feet of safety and usually within about 50 feet from shore.
• Never swim alone.
• Learn to help a drowning victim without entering the water. Practice the "Reach or Throw, Row, Don't Go" method. Learn these few simple techniques to help someone in trouble and keep yourself safe. Reach: To help someone in the water, reach first with a fishing pole, towel, boat oar, but don't get in the water yourself. Throw: Scan your area for items such as a empty milk jug, cooler, or ring buoys that can be thrown to someone in the water. Row:
It's not safe to go near a swimmer with the boat motor running. Use the oars to bring the boat close enough to reach or throw. Don't Go: Without expert training and experience in lifesaving techniques, you could put yourself in danger along with the person you are trying to help.
• Learn to perform CPR (or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). Check Red Cross CPR training programs. In an emergency, always have someone call 911.
• Wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
• Remember that swimming and alcohol can be a deadly combination.
Swimming in a river, lake or pond always carries some risk of exposure. Unlike swimming pools, natural waters are not chlorinated or disinfected.
The risk is higher after heavy rains
when bacteria levels are elevated due to fecal matter washed into the lakes and streams. People who go into the water do so at their own risk.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children.
The four major causes of drowning are:
1. Not wearing a life jacket
2. Abuse of alcohol
3. Lack of sufficient swimming skills
Each year, more than 3,000 people drown in the US. Since most drowning victims had no intention of being in the water, and since most people drown within 10-30 feet of safety, it is important that you and your family learn to swim. It is also important to follow some simple crucial guidelines if you, your family, or your friends are going to be near the water.