Summer Water Safety Tips

Avoid injury and summer swimming accidents at the pool, at the lake, and at the beach

DENVER, CO, July 1, 2008 -- With summer comes pool parties, trips to the lake or to the beach. Make sure these outings are fun and disaster free by taking advantage of NetQuote's summer water safety tips, which will help to avoid injuries or summer swimming accidents, keeping your family and friends safe.

Water Safety Tips at the Pool

Statistics show that there are over 8.3 million households with in-ground or above-ground pools, which range from kiddy pools, your standard in-ground kidney pool, not including hot tubs. Then the number rises to 14 million.

With pool ownership, a great amount of responsibility should be taken by the homeowner to ensure child safety. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 350 children under five years of age drown each year in swimming pools, most of which are residential pools. This makes drowning the leading cause of death for children under five in the U.S.

To prevent injury or tragedy following precautions are recommended:

  • Never leave a child unattended, not even for a few seconds.
  • Ensure any entry, such as a sliding glass door leading to the backyard and pool area, is locked at all times to prevent children from falling into the pool unattended.
  • Install a barrier or fence around the entire circumference of the pool or hot tub that is at least 4 feet tall. Make sure it is self-closing and self-latching and cannot be opened by a child.
  • Use a pool cover when the pool is not in use.
  • Install an underwater pool alarm in conjunction with a pool cover, preferably one that includes a remote feature so the alarm can be heard in areas away from the pool.
  • Know cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR) and have an emergency plan in place that includes rescue equipment ring buoys and poles) and instructions for turning off filters and mechanical devices, while keeping emergency numbers on hand.
  • Secure steps and ladders that lead into the pool.
  • Secure pool slides and enforce a policy that only allows feet first into the pool to avoid spinal and head injuries.
  • Keep any electrical devices, such as radios and CD players, away from the pool.
  • Teach children the proper way to dive into an in-ground pool in the deep end, and never allow diving into an above-ground pool because of its shallow depth.

Water Safety Tips at the Lake

Whether you're taking your sailboat out for a leisurely Sunday, getting the family on the boat for a day of water skiing, or just plan on a bar-b-que by the lake with some wading, the following water safety tips can help to keep your friends and family safe from injury or drowning.

  • Boat safety
    • The first rule of boat safety is to equip every person with a life jacket.
    • Understand and abide by the water safety laws and rules of the lake, including speed limits.
    • Run an end-to-end equipment and engine check before you head out on the lake.
    • Pay attention to the weather, and if a storm is on the horizon, bring people back to shore. It's wise to bring a radio with you to stay up to date on weather reports.
    • Equip the boat with a water safety kit that includes sunscreen, first-aid kit, map of your location, and a flashlight with extra batteries. Enclose the kit in a water-proof container that floats.
  • Restrict open fires to the designated campground or picnic areas.
  • Adhere to any rules enforced regarding bringing in bar-b-ques and cooking equipment.
  • Supervise children at all times and only allow them to wade or swim in the designated areas.
  • Apply waterproof sunscreen with at least 15 SPF every one and a half hours and reapply immediately after being in the water.
  • Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day, avoiding excess drinking of alcoholic beverages.
  • Most lakes do not allow fireworks, so you may need to leave them at home.

Water Safety Tips at the Beach

Many of the same rules for the lake apply to beach safety, including hydration and application of sunscreen. But there are unique precautions to take when you, your family and friends head out to the beach, mostly relating to what you should or shouldn't do

  • Swimming
  • Be aware of the water safety rules and regulations instated by the beach and abide by them, including rules regarding swimming, fire safety, glass bottles and alcohol.
  • Statistics show that 80% of the rescues by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents. To avoid being part of this statistic, ask a lifeguard about potential rip currents before you or a family member enter the water. Stay clear of areas near piers and jetties where rip currents often exist. If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you feel the pull stopping, and then make your way to shore. If you are unable to do so, wave and yell for assistance from a lifeguard.
  • Stay clear of coastal bluffs or rocky shores during the tide. Bluff can be loose and collapse unexpectedly, while huge waves can hit during high tide and sweep you away.

In addition to these water safety tips, one of the greatest precautions you can take is ensuring everyone, including young children, knows how to swim. In children ages 1 to 14 years old, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death.

It's also smart to revisit your liability coverage with your insurance agent. For pool owners, you may want to increase your standard homeowners liability protection from $100,000 to an amount between $300,000 to $500,000. Boat owners often take out umbrella insurance to protect them against injury and/or property damage lawsuits that exceed beyond their liability insurance coverage.

Summertime is a great time to hit the water, cool off and have fun. By keeping these water safety tips in mind, you can ensure that you, your family and friends can enjoy every minute of summer.

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