May is the month that ushers in summer. With warmer weather comes swimming, fishing, playing in the sprinkler, and all sorts of other water-based activities. That makes May the perfect month for National Water Safety Month. Water safety is a lot more than just knowing how to swim (although that is really important). Water safety includes keeping your home pools secure, knowing how to safely cross a river or stream, and what to do if you get caught in a current or flash flood.
Every year, hundreds of children and adults are injured or drown in residential pools and hot tubs. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to make sure the area is secure. Putting up gates around pools or keeping a cover over the water when it is not in use is one of the best ways to keep safe. You should also never let children or inexperienced swimmers swim alone. Another smart tip is to always check the strength of the ladder leading in and out of the water.
Outdoor Water Safety:
Whether you are boating at the lake, fishing by a river or catching some waves at the beach, it is important to know how to be safe around natural water sources. Just like when you’re at the pool, you never want to get in the water alone. Unlike pools, when you are enjoying rivers, lakes and beaches, you need to keep an eye out for dangerous wildlife and sharp or slippery rocks.
In addition to being mindful of rocks and wildlife, you also need to be aware of rip currents and undertows while swimming. They can pull you out into deep water, putting your life in danger. If you find yourself caught in a rip current or undertow, it is important to remember to swim parallel to the shore to make it back to safer waters. The easiest way to stay safe in or around natural water sources is to wear a life jacket!
Having fun with water can be one of the greatest parts of summer, but an injury or drowning can ruin it all. Knowing how to stay safe in and around water will allow you to enjoy water recreation for years to come. For more information and water safety tips, you can visit American Red Cross or the U.S. Forest Service.