Water Safety

Welcome to Safe Kids Oregon!

 

SWIMMING

 

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about swimming safety. Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the community or backyard pool, you can ensure that swimming is as safe as it is fun by following a few basic safety tips.
 

Hard Facts about Swimming Safety

  • Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 – 4 years old.
  • Children 1 – 4 years old are more likely to drown in a pool.
  • Children 5 years and older are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers.
  • The risk of drowning in open water increases with age: The average 10-year-old, for example, is three times more likely to drown in open water than in a pool.

Top Tips about Swimming Safety

  1. Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
  2. Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water when deciding if they are ready for swim lessons.
  3. Make sure kids learn these five water survival skills and that they are able to:
    • step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface;
    • float or tread water for one minute;
    • turn around in a full circle and find an exit;
    • swim 25 yards to exit the water; and
    • exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder
  4. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a child’s life.
     

    Learn More

     

    Don’t worry – you’re not in over your head in terms of swimming safety. But if you’re interested, here’s some more information on how to keep your family safe in and around water.

 

FIVE HIDDEN HAZARDS OF OPEN WATER

 

While drowning in swimming pools gets significant attention, the fact is that more children and teens fatally drown in lakes, rivers, oceans, reservoirs and other types of open water. According to a new research report from Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program, it’s important to be aware of, and talk to your children about, the following open water dangers:

  1. Limited Visibility – Water in lakes and ponds can be murky, hiding hazards such as rocks, logs and uneven surfaces. Limited visibility can also make it difficult to see if a child falls in. If lifeguards are present, ask about the safest area to swim. When entering unfamiliar water, go in feet first and wade out slowly.
  2. Depth, Distance and Drop-offs – Unlike a pool, open water rarely has depth markings, making it difficult to know if kids are getting into water that is over their heads. When swimming in open water, it can also be hard to perceive distance from the shore. Additionally, while there may be a gradual slope as you enter the water near shore, there might be a sudden drop-off further out. When looking for safe place to swim, choose a designated swimming area and check for signs warning about potential hazards.
  3. Currents and Tides – Currents in rivers, creeks and streams can be fast-moving and unpredictable. While some strong currents such as rapids are visible, others can flow under the water’s surface. In oceans or lakes, waves and rip currents can be dangerous. Families should avoid swimming at unsupervised beaches or in areas not designated for swimming. Before allowing kids to swim in open water, make sure they know how to deal with a crashing wave and escape a rip tide or strong current.
  4. Water Temperature – Open water is usually colder than water in a pool, which can affect a child’s swimming ability. What’s more, falling into cold water can result in shock, which can lead to panic and even drowning. When participating in boating or other recreational water activities, families should remember to dress for the water temperature, rather than the air temperature, and to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest.
  5. Weather and Seasonal Differences – Changes in the weather can make open water more hazardous. Heavy rains and flooding can create strong currents and rapidly change the depth and clarity of water. Families should also be aware of man-made storm channels and reservoirs that can be empty one minute and full of water the next. If you are planning an outing that involves open water, check the weather and water conditions before you leave home and again when you arrive. Stay alert for changes while you are on site and always stay out of the water if you hear thunder or see lightning.

 

Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is proudly led by Oregon Child Development Coalition.

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