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Ways You and Your Loved Ones Can Be Safe in Water

June 21, 2022

With summer already here, the Cambridge Public Health Department wants to remind everyone the importance of water and swim safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 11 people die each day from drowning in the US and drowning is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1–4. Drowning can happen in mere seconds and is often silent. While children are at highest risk, anyone can drown. 
 
Below are some vital ways and resources to keep you and your loved ones safe in water. 
 
Learn to swim. Having formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children and young adults. Here are some local places to get lessons:
  • The City of Cambridge’s War Memorial Recreation Center offers a variety of swimming lessons to children and youth year-round. From June 27 – August 19, the indoor pool will be open for Family Swim and Adult Lap Swim on evenings Monday through Friday. View the pool schedule.
  • Additional swimming lessons resources can be found on the state’s Learn to Swim! web page. 
Practice general swim safety tips:
  • Never swim alone. Swim with a buddy, even if you’re a strong swimmer.
  • Keep a cell phone nearby and know the address of your location in case you need to call for help.
  • Only dive in places that are marked for diving. Because above ground pools are shallow, always go in feet first. 
  • Avoid swimming if you take medications that impair your balance, coordination, or judgment.
  • Ask someone in your group to stay sober, out of the water, and alert while keeping an eye on other people in the water.
  • Be mindful of the water temperature. Cold water that can shock your system and impair your ability to react
  • Learn CPR. The American Red Cross offers a wide selection of CPR/AED, first aid, lifeguarding, swimming and water safety, caregiving, disaster response, and emergency preparedness training. Find information on CPR classes.
Be alert and watch children closely:
  • Always supervise children in and around water, even if they know how to swim. If in a group, assign at least one adult as an “water watcher” to supervise children.  
  • Avoid distractions while supervising children (i.e., reading, texting, talking on the phone, drinking alcohol).
  • Stay within arm's length of kids under 4 years old—even if they're in an inflatable wading pool. Staying close can save a child's life.
  • Make sure pool covers are completely off—kids can get trapped under covers.
Act fast when someone may be drowning:
  • Know the following signs of drowning, which is faster and quieter than you may think. A person is:
    • Floating on or treading water
    • Trying swim to safety but unable to move forward
    • Struggling to call for help
    • Trying to keep their head above water to breath
  • Alert the lifeguard, if one is present.
  • Call 911 immediately if you think someone is drowning.
  • Do not try to rescue someone from the water unless you are trained in water rescue. People have drowned because they entered the water trying to rescue a person in trouble. 
  • If no lifeguard or rescue personnel are present, use an object such as a rope, a foam noodle, a canoe paddle, or even your hand to pull the drowning victim out of the water immediately. You can also throw a flotation device like a beach ball, a lifejacket, an inner tube, or foam noodle to the person. Learn more from the Red Cross and watch the water safety video from YMCA of Greater Waukesha County.
  • Always take a near drowning victim to the hospital to be checked out to make sure there are not further health problems. 
MEDIA CONTACT

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer
617-665-3833
sfeinberg@challiance.org


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Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

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