While aquatic recreation tops the list of summer fun, it can be a dangerous pastime. Drowning deaths account for 4000 deaths a year. Learn life–saving techniques and preventive tips so you have skills you hope you never need to use:
- Get trained in CPR and first aid. You can find local certification classes through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association or by contacting your local fire department. Medical schools, health agencies, and community centers sometimes offer free workshops as a public service. If you have children, register for pediatric courses too.
- Avoid menacing waters. If swimming in the ocean, stay away from dark or murky areas, which can indicate deep waters churned up by a riptide. Never enter zones that appear to ripple or be carrying debris out to sea. If you’re ever caught, signal for assistance, remain calm, float with the current, and try to swim parallel to the shoreline until help arrives. Always check weather before swimming or boating to make sure lightning won’t be an issue. At the pool, enter feet first, diving only into designated diving sections.
- Heed simple advice. Never drink alcohol while swimming, diving, or boating. Keep a cell phone nearby or install a landline. Keep toys and gear away from the deck to prevent trips. Remove pool covers completely. Keep a flotation device nearby.