It is prime swimming season now.  Here are some tips for getting your  family ready for fun in the pool, at the beach or on a boat.

While playing in the water is a great way to stay cool during the summer months, the risks associated with water recreation are real.  According to the CDC, drowning ranks second only to birth defects as the cause of death in children ages 1-4, while fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional death behind car crashes for young people aged 1-14.

There are some straightforward ways to prepare for water activities during the summer months, and getting started now will result in less stress when the sun is shining!

Educate Yourself and Others.  Starting children in formal swimming lessons young will help them swim safely.  Remember, however, that constant, careful supervision will be necessary no matter how experienced your little swimmers are.  In addition, getting yourself and your family members trained in CPR is a good idea.  In the precious moments it takes for paramedics to arrive should an incident arise, your CPR skills could save a life.

Practice Pool Safety.  Home pools should be contained within a four-sided fence that makes it inaccessible from either the house or the yard.  To protect little ones, the fence should be at least four feet high, and use self-latching gates that open outward.  When no one is playing or hanging out by the pool, the pool area and deck should be completely free of toys.  This will prevent children from trying to enter the pool area unsupervised.

Be Aware.  Keep in mind that drinking alcohol reduces reaction time, so it is best avoided if you are swimming, boating or water skiing and directly responsible for supervising children.  It’s also important to know local weather conditions before getting in the water.  While sudden weather changes often cannot be avoided, it’s best to be prepared.

Use the Buddy System.  Not only does swimming with a friend or family member keep you safe, it’s more fun!

Remember, being prepared and then being alert when at the pool or the beach is your best way to prevent water-related injuries.  I encourage you to explore the CDC website for more helpful information.  Your family will thank you!

AFC Urgent Care Saugus is located at 371 Broadway, Route 1 South, Saugus, MA.  The urgent care center provides state-of-the-art treatment for acute illness, trauma and sports injuries (including minor surgical procedures) and has an onsite digital x-ray service.  Physicians are on staff at all times.