With temperatures rising and fun summer activities in full swing, families will be flocking to our lakes, rivers, and reservoirs to cool off. However, before you grab the swimsuits and towels, it’s critically important to review proper water safety measures.
You hear the horror stories about parents who turned their backs for one second and faced tragic results — but water safety isn’t just about protecting small children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an average of 3,957 unintentional drowning deaths occur each year, and children aren’t the only victims. In Utah, multiple adult drownings happen every summer.
No matter how young or old you are, no matter how confident you may feel, everyone can benefit from a little refresher when it comes to staying safe around water.
Here are a few things every adult should know before heading out to the next pool or lake party — and reading these tips might just save your life.
This may go against your natural instincts, but if someone is drowning or in danger in the water, resist the urge to dive in after them. Doing so may put both of you in danger. Instead, practice the old “reach, throw, row or don’t go” method of rescue. Reach out to the person with any object they might be able to grab onto. Throw them a life jacket or something to help them float. If you’re on a boat, you can use oars to row closer to a person to reach or throw something to them. (Make sure not to put your boat’s motor toward a person in the water.)
If you can’t do any of the above, your best option is “don’t go.” It’s a very difficult decision to make, but making yourself a victim won’t help anyone.
Here’s a scary thought: More than half of U.S. adults don’t know how to swim well enough to save their lives. If you’ve been doggy-paddling your way through life, it’s time to take things more seriously. Enrolling in an adult swim class is a smart thing to do if you’ve never learned the basics — or if you’re looking to improve. And since half of your friends don’t know how to swim well enough either, you’ll have plenty of friends who can join you.
It’s called a life-preserver for a reason. The simple fact is that if more adults would wear a life jacket, drastically more lives would be saved. Wondering how often you should wear it? The National Park Service recommends wearing a life jacket anytime you’re on, near, or in the water. For any water activity, a life jacket is always a safe bet.
Now that you know how to take care of yourself better, be sure to brush up on some water safety guidelines to protect the rest of your family.
You can find more water safety tips and learn about other child safety topics by visiting primarychildrens.org/safety.