Posts Tagged ‘water safety’

underwater photography of young friends swimming.

Summer is upon us: trips to the pool, or lake, vacations to the beach, or water sports adventures. Family time at the pool or on the water can create lasting memories. But did you know that no matter how well someone can swim, no one is ever “drown-proof”?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 and is the second leading cause of unintentional death in ages 5 to 14.

            Water competency is essential to improve water safety by avoiding dangers, developing water safety skills, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies. Water competency includes (1) being water smart, (2) swimming skills, and (3) helping others. All of us need to be water smart any time we are around water, even if we do not plan to go for a swim. This includes knowing your limitations, never swimming alone, wearing a life jacket, understanding unique water environments, and swimming sober. Learning to perform these five swimming skills in every type of water environment can help save a life:

  1. Enter water that is over your head and calmly return to the surface
  2. Float or tread water for at least one minute
  3. Turn over or turn around in the water
  4. Swim at least 25 yards
  5. Be able to exit the water

Help others: This means, paying close attention to children or weak swimmers, knowing the signs of drowning, learning to safely assist a drowning person, such as “reach or throw, don’t go,” and knowing CPR and first aid.

Movies and television make us believe that drowning is splashy and loud. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite; someone could be drowning a few feet away, and you would not know it; drowning is often silent. It’s important to learn the seven warning signs that someone is drowning.

Consider these ideas to be safe around water this summer:

  • Designate an adult to be a water watcher – eliminate distractions such as long conversations, cell phone usage, or reading.
  • Create family swim rules and utilize swim buddies of similar age and skill.
  • Utilize U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejackets.
Children learning to swim with instructor

Learning to swim is one of the best ways to help your family and make everyone safer around the water. Summer is a great time to find swim lessons in your community; check out your local Red Cross, YMCA, parks and recreation centers, swim clubs, and swim teams for affordable swim lessons in your area.


American Red Cross. (n.d.-d). Water safety. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html

Drowning facts. (2022, March 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/drowning/facts/index.html

Talks, R. C. (n.d.). What does drowning sound and look like? https://www.redcross.ca/blog/2019/6/what-does-drowning-sound-and-look-like

U.S. Coast Guard. (n.d.). Life jacket wear/Wearing your life jacket. Boat Responsibly. https://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/life-jacket-wear-wearing-your-life-jacket.php

Photo Credit:

Children swimming underwater: Adobe Stock (418941209)

Children learning to swim with instructor: Adobe Stock (28261075)

Written by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County.

Reviewed by: Laura Stanton Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County.

Read Full Post »