May 18, 2020 — Water Safety

Posted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 5/18/2020 9:00:00 AM

With the warm days upon us and summer nipping at our toes, we are all looking forward to getting back into the water. Whether you are out on a boat, kayaking, or swimming, it is important to be safe while in or on the water. 

Drowning is one of the three leading causes of unintentional injury death among children ages 0-19. It is quick and silent and can happen to any family. It often occurs when an unsupervised child is near water. Children can drown in just an inch of water left in a bucket or wading pool. The most common setting for children to drown in is open water – oceans, rivers, and lakes.

Playing in the water – whether you are swimming or boating – can be fun, but it can also be dangerous, especially for children.  Although most people don’t think much about water safety, being safe and following the rules will help prevent injuries and drowning

So, before you or your child hits the water this summer, here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Get water smart: learn to swim from a qualified instructor, choose safe places to swim, learn to recognize hidden obstacles and rip currents.
  • Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use touch supervision, keeping no more than an arm’s length away.
  • Never allow your child or teen to swim alone or hang out by the water without an adult watching. Even good swimmers need buddies!
  • Do not swim at beaches with large waves, a powerful undertow, or no lifeguards.
  • Do not rely on inflatable rafts or floaties as life preservers.
  • Do not let your child dive unless you know the depth of the water and it is at least 9 feet deep.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool.
  • Never push or jump on others around the water.
  • Never swim during a storm or if you can see lightning. Seek shelter. Get out of the water.
  • If you get caught in a rip current, don’t panic and don’t fight the current. Try to swim parallel to the shore until you can get out of the current. 
  • Never go in the water after drinking alcohol.
  • Children should wear a life jacket at all times when on boats, docks or near bodies of water. Adults should also wear a life jacket when in a boat.
  • If you have a pool, install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool.

Keeping these tips in mind when you venture out or into the water, will hopefully keep you and your family safe this summer. Have fun and remember your sunscreen!