Drowning prevention begins with learning to swim in age-appropriate swimming lessons. Classes are available for all ages, from six months (with a parent or guardian) to adults. Swimming lessons build strength and confidence in the water, while teaching safety skills. The American Red Cross also suggests these safety actions:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; guardians, do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability; do not let anyone play around drains and suction fitting.
- Do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
Supervision saves lives – Prevent unsupervised access to the water
Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection. Additional precautions include:
- Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
- If you have an above ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
- Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
- Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
Maintain constant supervision
- Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
- Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
Know what to do in an emergency
If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
LOCAL SWIMMING CLASSES
All Sport Health and Fitness Center
Hudson Valley Swim
Swimming Past Boundaries
OUTDOOR SUMMER SWIM CLASSES
Beekman Recreation Center
Freedom Park, LaGrange
Hackett Hill, Hyde Park
(845) 229-8086, extension 4
Town of Stanford Recreation
Town of Washington Recreation