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Staying safe while staying cool

Marion Walters seeks the perfect stones for her fishtank with her grandpa, Jim Dawson. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2010 - Local lakes and swimming pools are a great way to stay cool in the summer heat, but can be dangerous especially for young swimmers.

Here's some tips on how to stay safe while having fun:

1. Don't Swim Alone. Do not allow children to swim without an adult. Even adults should never swim alone. It is best to swim with others. Ninety- two percent of children who survive a drowning are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and 86 percent children who die are found after 10 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

2. Follow Regulations. Never dive into shallow water. Additionally, if there is not a lifeguard on duty, you should take extra safety precautions.

3. Learn to Swim. Learning basic swimming and floating techniques can save lives.

4. Safety Equipment: Life preservers and life jackets should be easy to access. At home, keep a telephone and emergency numbers poolside. Additionally, parents should know CPR.

5. Fencing. If you have a pool at home, make sure the pool is completely surrounded by fencing at least four feet high. Remove toys from the pool and surrounding areas immediately after use. The presence of toys may encourage children to enter the pool area unsupervised.

6. Flotation Vests. When boating, you should wear a Coast Guard-approved flotation vest, regardless of your swimming abilities. Even while wading at the lake, it is recommended to wear a personal flotation device. This is especially important for inexperienced swimmers and children. Remember, water wings, noodles, inner tubes and rafts should never take the place of an approved flotation device.

7. Designated Areas. Swim only at designated beaches or in swimming areas marked with buoys that keep boaters, water skiers and jet skiers away. If you cross these buoys, you run the risk of not being seen by boaters, and you could potentially be injured.

8. Don't Drink and Swim. At times, your swimming activities may also include a family BBQ or picnic. However, alcohol and water sports don't mix. Chances of drowning or becoming injured increase greatly when under the influence of alcohol.

For swimming safety information, visit

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