Stay safe swimming this summer

The mercury is rising and there’s no better way to cool off than going for a dip in the pool, a lake or the ocean. Not only is swimming refreshing, it’s good exercise and it’s a great way to spend a day with your friends and family.

But when you do go swimming, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Drowning killed 3,709 people in the United States in 2017, the majority of them children. But by following a few easy safety tips, you can make sure your whole family has a fun time in the water.

Use the buddy system: Drowning is often silent. By swimming with others, you can stick together and make sure everyone is safe.

• Keep an eye on children: Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds, so always monitor your children when they’re in the water.

• Don’t eat before swimming: According to WebMD, digesting food redirects blood flow and takes away from your strength. If you find yourself in an urgent situation, like caught in a rip current, you might not have the strength to save yourself. Try waiting 30 minutes to swim after you last ate.

• Swimming lessons: Get age-appropriate swimming lessons for you children so they can learn the skills that will keep them safe in the water.

• Look for lifeguards: If you’re swimming at the beach or a public pool, look for a spot that has a lifeguard on duty.

• Never dive into shallow water: Know how deep the water is before you dive in. Diving into shallow water could cause neck injuries, paralysis or even death.

• Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can affect your judgement and impair your motor skills, both things that are important in the water. Alcohol can also affect your ability to keep warm in cold water.

• Wear life jackets: Young children and those who don’t know how to swim should wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets when in the water.

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