It almost goes without saying that living in Minnesota means that we’re never far from a body of water. But we’ll say it anyway: there’s water, water, everywhere in our land of lakes, rivers, streams, water parks and swimming pools.
Last year, sadly, we had in Minnesota at least 39 drowning-related deaths (not including boating accidents). Do you know that drowning ranks as the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death in children 1-14 years of age?
Because of those tragedies, and the fact that May is National Water Safety Month, we’d like to remind our Minnesota community that everyone should know how to swim and how to respond to water emergencies.
So, do you know how to swim? And does everyone you know and care about know how to swim? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then it’s time for you or that someone you know to enroll in age-appropriate swim courses. There’s no reason to feel ashamed if you can’t swim, but taking action as soon as possible and learning how to swim can go a long way toward preventing accidents in and around water.
How about knowing CPR and first aid? It may become crucial that you carry out actions required to resuscitate an unconscious swimmer, especially in a scenario where there’s no lifeguard on duty. If you don’t know CPR, then learn now.
Also, following these rules can help prevent water emergencies and make your vacation at the beach or by the pool that much more enjoyable:
- Never leave a child unsupervised around the water. Even where lifeguards are on duty, keep a watchful eye on younger swimmers.
- Set/follow water safety rules for family based on swimming abilities.
- Be conscious of any and all posted signs.
- When possible, swim in areas lifeguard-supervised areas.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Be aware of factors like deep and shallow areas, and currents.
- Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts.
- Wear life-jackets when boating.
Story by Hayes Kaufman/American Red Cross. Additional sources include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Health. For more Red Cross water safety tips, please click here.