May is National Water Safety Month!
Your Summer guide to staying safe around water
“Mom, the pool opens this weekend. Can we go?”
Millions of families will be headed to some form of water this weekend. Summer pools are opening, families are taking trips to the lakes, summer vacations are starting, weekend beach trips become a popular vote, and Richmond was named “the Best River Town by Outside Magazine and many will take advantage of that.
This weekend starts a mass drive to water activities for many families. Are you staying safe? Do you know what to look for? Do you know the risks?
May is National Water Safety Month. Below are some tips for staying safe this summer. First, let’s talk about some staggering statistics:
Did You Know?
- Drowning is the number one leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths in children 4 years and younger
- Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental injury-related death for kids ages 1-14 years
- 10 people drown in the U.S. every day
- 50% of the population doesn't know how to swim
- 70% of African Americans don't know how to swim
- Nearly 61% of parents report that their child cannot save their own lives in the water, yet nearly all parents (94%) expect that their children will engage in some sort of water activity this summer
Is it important to learn how to swim?
The number one way to prevent drowning-related injuries is learning how to swim. Learning to swim will not only provide you the skills to be water safe but also the tools to be active healthy and fit for the rest of your life. Learning to swim is a necessary life skill that everyone should know. So, what does it mean to be water safe?
SwimRVA believes water safety is the ability to swim correctly for a distance unassisted on both your back and front. We believe everyone should know the correct technique for the breaststroke kick as this is the proper kick motion for treading water. Swimming on your front and back and knowing how to tread water effortlessly are the skills that will save your life.
However, not everyone has gone through proper swim training. Even if you have, there are some other tips to keep you water safe this summer.
- General Water Safety Tips
Talk to your child about water safety. Do not assume that your child is aware of the dangers near water. Have a conversation with them about the importance of water safety. Make sure you emphasize simple pool rules like not jumping in headfirst, watching out for pool drains, not playing breath holding games, always listening to your lifeguard on duty and knowing what to do in an emergency.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We believe that all parents, guardians, and child care providers should know CPR.
- Never leave a child unattended near a body of water. Drowning is not like the movies. It can happen faster than you can send a text, check the grill, or apply your own sunscreen. Usually, the swimmer is not loud and screaming. Most drownings are quiet.
- Always swim with a buddy. You or your child should never swim alone. Use a buddy system and always go with another person.
- Fence it in, lock it up. If you own a pool in your backyard please make sure that you check your fence every year, ensure the lock is still in working order and that the fence is at least 4 feet tall with gaps no wider than 4 inches.
- Wear a life jacket. Even if you know how to swim you should always wear a life jacket, especially in bigger bodies of water. This has less to do with your swimming ability and more about your safety if you were to become unconscious or too tired to continue swimming is stressful situations.
- Keep emergency equipment handy. Storing and knowing how to properly use emergency equipment can be vital in a water rescue.
Water should be fun! Take a couple of minutes before each trip to make sure your entire family is on the same page about water safety.
As Dory says “Just Keep Swimming!”
SwimRVA is a non-profit designed to elevate swimming in the Richmond region making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all. SwimRVA serves as a catalyst for regional aquatics through water safety, health & wellness, sports tourism, and competitive swimming. SwimRVA is the collaborative engine that is building social bridges to cross physical, racial, and economic barriers; ensuring that everyone has access to not only learning a necessary, life-saving skill
but also develop the tools to be active healthy and fit for the rest of their lives. SwimRVA is the non-profit community hub for aquatics in the Richmond region.
Making aquatics accessible is central to why we’re here
Our Drownproof Richmond initiative has always been at the heart of our nonprofit mission to bring aquatic access and education to everyone in the region. Visit our Drownproof Richmond page to learn more about why it is critically important for SwimRVA to continue to provide free, top-quality learn-to-swim lessons to our community’s underserved youth.