Practice water safety and swim safe this summer

WASHINGTON – In the heat of summer, there are few thing better than jumping into refreshing water at a pool or beach. But with the joy comes lurking dangers for children and inexperienced swimmers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 10 people die from accidental drowning each day. And many of these victims are children.

That’s why the Red Cross and other groups are pushing to remind everyone about basic water safety rules before they head to the beach or pool this summer.

First and foremost, swim only in designated areas with a lifeguard present, and never let anyone swim alone.

Those who can’t swim should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest when in the water. Before swimming with kids, make sure emergency rescue gear is on-hand.

Children should always be supervised by an adult when around water. The Red Cross says to constantly keep kids in sight, and if a child goes missing, check the water first. If a child is struggling in the water, every second is precious.

More than 200 kids die in backyard swimming pools each year, so owners should take extra precaution.

A home pool should be surrounded by a 4-foot tall fence or barrier with a self-locking gate. Owners should also know how to respond in an emergency. The Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation offer an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. To take the course, click here.

But perhaps the best safety tip is the simplest: learn to swim.

There are lessons for everyone, even toddlers. A great resource is the American Red Cross website, which has a local class locator.

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