Injury Prevention

Swimming

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 4,406 people drowned in 1998, including 1,003 children under the age of 15. In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children.

More drowning deaths occur during summer – particularly in July – than any other time of year. And children can drown in less than one inch of water, so it is extremely important to exercise caution in the home, around the pool or on vacation at a lake or ocean.

Click here for our Water Safety Quiz.

Safety Tips

  • Always ensure that there is adult supervision when children are swimming.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near the water.
  • Never let children swim alone. Teach them to use the buddy system.
  • Make sure children swim in supervised or designated areas.
  • Never let a child swim during a storm or when there is lightening.
  • Never use water wings and pool toys as life jackets. (See Life Jacket Safety Chart.)
  • Make sure children know the depth of the water.
  • Don’t let kids dive or jump into water that is less than 9-feet deep.
  • Don’t chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in the water.
  • Keep a first aid kit, phone and emergency numbers near the water.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Have each child aged four and older complete a swimming program.
  • Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing people in or dunking other swimmers.
  • Be sure to remove all toys from the water after everyone is done swimming, so they don’t tempt small children to enter the water when an adult is not around.
  • At the ocean, be careful of underwater currents and the wave action. Never run and dive into the waves head first.
  • Don't swim in rivers, where fast-moving water is extremely dangerous and currents are hard to gauge.
  • Don't overdo it when swimming. Build up your endurance slowly.

If you have a pool:

  • Make sure there is a clear view of the pool from your house.
  • Install a fence or wall that is at least five feet high completely around the pool.
  • Make sure that any gate handles are not accessible to young children.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the safe installation and use of the pool cover.
  • Keep all electrical appliances away from the pool area.
  • Store sanitation chemicals carefully. Explosions and burn injuries can occur if the chemicals are stored improperly or handled by children.

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Last Update
June 18, 2008
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Last Update
June 18, 2008
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