One of the most important things to remember when you're swimming is to only swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. If there is no lifeguard, make sure you swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. If you have young children, make sure they know to ask permission before they go near water and never leave them near water unattended. When supervising, make sure that you're giving them your undivided attention – drowning can take place in as little as 2 minutes.
Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim well. If your child is very young or unexperienced, have them wear life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
The best way to keep your children safe around swimming pools is to actively watch them at all times while they are in or near the pool. If you have infants or toddlers, be in the water with them and within arm's reach to provide "touch supervision". To prevent small children from entering the pool area on their own, put up a fence surrounding the pool. Fences should be climb-resistant and at least 4 feet high with no foothold or handholds that could help a child climb. For above-ground pools, keep your children away from steps and ladders by removing or locking them when the pool is not in use.
If you have a pool, enforce these rules for safety:
- Keep toys away from the pool when the pool isn't in use
- Empty blow-up pools after each use
- No bikes, tricycles, or other riding toys at poolside
- No electrical appliances near the pool
- No diving in a pool that is not deep enough
- No running on the pool deck
Swimming in the ocean takes different skills. So before you jump in, learn how to swim in the surf. You should only swim in lifeguard-protected, designated swimming areas. Make sure to obey all instructions and orders from the lifeguards.
Check the local weather conditions and keep alert while swimming in case the weather affects the strength of the ocean. Even if you're confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore. Beware the dangers of rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight the current. Swim parallel to the short until you are free, then turn and swim toward shore. Permanent rip currents often exist near piers and jetties so keep a distance of at least 100 feet.
Keep these safety precautions in mind before you jump into the pool or head to the beach and you'll be sure to have a safe and healthy summer!
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