As the weather begins to warm, the allure of the water becomes irresistible as children and adults alike are drawn to local rivers, lakes, ponds, and pools. Playing in the water can be fun, but it can also be dangerous, especially for children. There are over 3,600 drowning’s in the United States each year. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children aged 1 to 9 years and is one of the top ten causes of accidental death for both children and adults!Click here to download a PDF version of this information
Drowning’s happen in a matter of seconds. Contrary to what many people believe, drowning is a quick and silent killer. Within just 4 to 6 minutes, a submerged person in the water can die or sustain permanent brain damage.
To help EVERYONE keep safe this spring and summer, follow these water safety tips:
- Learn to swim! But keep in mind that lessons don’t make you “drown-proof”. Even experienced swimmers can drown.
- Provide adult supervision - Never leave a young child alone or with other children – EVEN FOR “A MINUTE” - in the bathtub or near any body of water, including pools, ponds, rivers, or lakes.
- Wear a personal flotation device (also called a life jacket) when around water. Never rely on “toys” such as inner tubes, air mattresses, or water wings to stay afloat.
- Know the water – water may be colder, deeper, and the current swifter than you realize. Very cold water can quickly overwhelm even the strongest swimmer. Also know what lies downstream, although the water may be calm where you are, conditions can change rapidly. Heed all warning signs.
- Know your limits – even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills. Be prepared by wearing a life jacket at all times in the water.
- Install a fence around your pool, spa, or pond. The fence should be at least four feet in height and have a self-closing and self-latching gate.
- Never mix alcohol with swimming, diving, or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
For more information on water safety, contact your local American Red Cross chapter, visit the American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org, or contact your local fire agency. Residents of Bend may contact Bend Fire & Rescue at 541-322-6309.
(Information provided in part courtesy of the American Red Cross © 2014)