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How to Have Fun -- and Stay Safe -- at the Beach or Pool

SATURDAY, Aug. 6, 2016 -- Headed to the beach or pool to beat the summer heat? Keep water safety in mind, the American Red Cross says.

People of all ages enjoy cooling off and relaxing in the water. But adults need to be vigilant and also make sure that kids know the safety rules before they get wet.

Here are some tips from the Red Cross:

  • Look for the lifeguard. Everyone should swim in supervised areas and no one should swim alone. Teach kids to ask permission to go near water, and never leave them unattended.
  • Life jackets are life savers. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when they're around water. But don't rely on life jackets alone. Children need to be under constant supervision.
  • Learn to swim well. Enroll non-swimmers in age-appropriate swimming classes.
  • Make your pool safe. If you have a pool at home, be sure it has proper safety barriers and appropriate equipment at hand. These items include reaching or throwing devices, life jackets, a first aid kit and a cellphone. Know how and when to call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Pay attention. Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds can make the difference in preventing disability or death.
  • Sun protection is a must. Use sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 and limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Stay hydrated. Soaking up the sun and surf can make you thirsty, so remember to drink plenty of water. But avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can increase the risk of dehydration.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on water safety.

Posted: August 2016


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