10 people drown in the United States every day.
Summer is a great time to relax at the beach or pool but water safety is an important issue often forgotten. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old. Tragedy recently struck Olympic skier Bode Miller’s 3 year old daughter. She drowned in the pool while at a family get together.
These tragedies can be prevented if you take the time and are diligent about water safety.
Keep young children safe.
Did you know that a small child can drown in the bathtub or even a bucket of water?
Every person should know how to swim. They don’t have to be an Olympian. But every person needs the ability to swim, to stay above water, tread water and to reach safety when in trouble. Children can be taught to swim at a very early age. Your local YMCA or swim team is a great place to start when teaching a child to swim.
Water Safety Tips
If you follow these simple steps, you just might save a life.
- Teach your child to respect the water. Children often have no fear. And that’s great! But they need to know the dangers especially around the open water.
- Anytime you’re around the open water, you need to hold your child’s hand. There’s a saying in Hawaii “Never turn your back because the ocean may give you a whack”. Tides and waves are unpredictable
- Try to swim where there is a lifeguard present
- Empty all containers, tubs, buckets and kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside down so they do not accumulate water
- Install fences around home pools. It should surround all sides of the pool and be at least 4 feet tall with self latching and self closing gates
- Keep rescue equipment within reach at your family pool. A flotation ring can save a life and it easily tossed to someone in trouble in the water
- Watch children when they are in or near any water. Do not get distracted. It takes seconds for someone to be submerged and out of sight. Keep young children at an arm’s length, no further
- Have small children wear a life vest, fastened properly. Water wings and floaties can easily slip off
- Learn CPR and have an emergency plan in place. Call 911 immediately.
As a swim coach and lifeguard, I have saved countless people from drowning. I saved my sister from drowning in my grandmother’s swimming pool when I was only 8 years old. I saved my youngest daughter while she was attending a YMCA swim lesson. The instructor looked away and my 2 year old daughter reached out to try and grab a leaf. I saw terror in her eyes as she began to flail and sink. Luckily, I was there and jumped in to save her. Most recently I saved a fellow open water swimmer from hypothermia. We were doing an English Channel qualification swim and he succumbed to the cold. Had I not been there to grab him, he would have drowned. Even the most experienced swimmer can drown, no one is immune. Give the water the respect it deserves and have a great, safe summer!