The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) offers the following tips to stay safe External Site near water:
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- Supervise young children. They must be watched at all times when near water. It takes only a little water and a matter of seconds for a child to accidentally drown when an adult turns away.
- Learn to swim. Formal swimming lessons can help prevent all people, but especially young children, from drowning. It’s never too late to learn.
- Learn CPR. It can take paramedics several minutes to arrive. Having CPR skills can mean the difference between life and death or permanent brain damage.
- Use the buddy system. Always pair up when swimming, and only swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty, if possible.
- Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol while on a boat or swimming in the water can severely impair a person's judgment. Never consume alcohol while supervising children around water.
- Use life jackets. When on a boat, make sure the number of (Coast Guard-approved) life jackets matches the number of passengers, and that they are easily accessible. Young children should have a life jacket on at all times when on a boat or in the water.
- Do not use air-filled or foam toys as safety devices. These toys are not substitutes for life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Know weather conditions. If strong winds or heavy thunderstorms and lightning are rolling in, get out of the water and find shelter immediately.
- Watch for waves and rip currents near the ocean. If you're caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore. Once free of the current, swim toward the shore.
Drowning fast facts
- Every day, about 10 people die from drowning.
- Potentially half of all boating deaths might be prevented by the use of life jackets.
- Drowning is the second-most common cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14 (just behind motor vehicle accidents).
- Drowning was the leading cause of death from an injury for those 1 to 4 years of age.
"If you're at the pool and someone is missing, check the water first. Every second counts. If you suspect a swimmer is struggling, ask. If that person is unresponsive or responds with a blank stare, immediate help is needed."
Molly Charley, director of aquatics at TrailPoint Aquatics and Wellness
Do you know what drowning looks like? Know these signs to think like a lifeguard and prevent water accidents.