Now that summer has officially begun, it's the perfect time for all kinds of outdoor activities, including swimming. Whether swimming in a pool, lake, river, or ocean, it is important to remember to be vigilant about water safety.
Sadly, drowning remains the second leading cause of injury-related death of children in the United States, preceded only by motor vehicle accidents. In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors noted that, "If the statistics took into account the frequency of exposure to swimming compared with traffic, drowning events would be 200 times as common as deaths from traffic accidents." If swimmers and parents take the appropriate safety precautions; however, many of these drowning events can be prevented.
The best prevention against drowning for people of all ages is the ability to swim well and knowledge of water-safety skills. It is also important to remember to always swim with other people, swim in areas protected by lifeguards, know the water and weather conditions before getting in the water, enter shallow and unknown water feet first, obey all safety signs and warning flags, and know how and when to use a life jacket. When supervising swimming children, it is important for the supervisor to remain free of distractions and remain close enough to grab a child who may get into trouble in the water. Supervisors should also be good swimmers and be trained in basic lifesaving and resuscitation techniques.
Source: Respect for Water Cuts Risk of Drowning; www.nytimes.com ; 11 June 2012