Once the weather turns warm, it’s natural for kids to head for pools, water parks, and even Lake Michigan to cool off. But, every summer, children and adults die from drowning. That’s a fact. From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2017, 163 children younger than age 15 died from drowning in pools or spas. Nearly 70% (112) of those were children younger than age 5.
#9 – Take A Friend, Be A Friend
Whether you are swimming in a backyard pool or a pond, you should always swim with a partner. A cramp can hit at any time making it difficult to get out of the water. A friend can either help you or get help. Either way, never swim by yourself. For those friends who are not as skilled as you, keep an eye on them and encourage them to get out of the water if they seem a little tired.
#8 – Get Smart
Parents: Have your child learn some water skills.
Many park districts offer affordable basic swim classes. This investment is invaluable.
Learn basic water safety and CPR.
#7 – Pool Safety
Never leave a child unattended in or [NEAR] water
Teach children to stay away from drains
Make sure any pool or spa your child goes into has compliant drain covers
Invest in swim lessons
Install proper barriers
#6 – Water Park Safety
Read the signs at every waterpark. Obey all rules and experience-level guidelines
Use a buddy system
Practice good hygiene: Never urinate or defecate in the pool
Don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, avoid getting any in your mouth
Did you know that more people die in boating accidents every year than in train or airplane accidents?
If you are going on a boat, look at these factors:
Competence: Make sure your captain (or whoever is handling the boat) is knowledgeable and experienced. Ask questions
Weather: Make sure the weather conditions are safe. Check the Internet, local radio, or TV stations to get updated information
Boater’s Fatigue: Remember the noise, wind, heat, and vibration of the boat can combine to wear you down when you’re on the water
#4 – Let’s Talk Life Jackets (Personal Flotation Devices)
In Illinois, a life jacket must be available for each person aboard a watercraft.
Illinois law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times aboard any watercraft that is under 26 feet in length when the boat is underway. The only exceptions are if the person is below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property.
Life jackets must be worn by everyone who operates a personal watercraft or Jet Ski
#3 – A Word About Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan remains the most dangerous of all the Great Lakes. In 2016, fatal drownings nearly doubled, and most occurred on Lake Michigan. In 2016, 98 people drowned from ages 9-75. Milder winters warm the waters quickly and draw people to the waves.
Riptides are an ever-present worry. After the waves reach the beach, the water moves back toward the lake. However, sandbars stop the water, creating gaps in the sandbars. The water that flows through these gaps goes extremely fast and are called riptides. With riptides, swimming skills don’t matter as much as knowing what to do. If caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore, because it is impossible to swim against their strength;
Don’t count on lifeguards. A lack of revenue and liability concerns have drastically reduced the number of lifeguards;
People drown even when a green flag is present. In Lake Michigan, most drowning accidents involve 3-6 feet high with waves occurring every 4-5 seconds.
#2 – General Rules
Weak swimmers, non-swimmers, and children under 48” should wear a Coast Guard approved life vest
Dress appropriately including a hat and a loose shirt Newborns should avoid the sun. Monitor how much sun children are exposed to the sun
Apply sunscreen before leaving home and throughout the day
Drink plenty of water
#1 – Know What Drowning Looks Like
During actual drownings, the victim:
Remains in the same place
Mouth sinking below and then resurfacing
Not crying out because he’s just trying to breathe
Arms trying to grab
In younger children, he may look like he’s doing the dog paddle
Adults only have 20-60 seconds of struggling before they are fully submerged. Children have even less time. Again, please share this information with your loved ones. We look forward to seeing you and your children next year.