Your local pool is officially open for summer and we’re dreaming of the beach. Before diving in, it’s important to remember to keep ourselves and our family safe while splashing about this summer. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, a nurse and director of the Emergency Department at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, shares these water safety tips. 

How common is drowning?

Nurse Rose: Every day, about 10 people die from drowning in the U.S., with two out of those being kids under the age of 14.

How can parents and other caregivers keep kids safe around water?

Nurse Rose: Accidents happen, but there are some simple steps that you can take to protect children around the pool or at the beach.

  • Stay close, be alert and watch children in any body of water
  • Learn water safety skills and teach your kids to swim
  • Never leave kids unattended in or near any body of water
  • When possible, always swim in designated areas with lifeguards
  • Always cover your pool or hot tub at home when unattended

Are pools at home unsafe?

Nurse Rose: Of course any body of water can present safety pitfalls, but the key for pool or hot tub owners is having proper equipment and monitoring children when using it. It’s important to have a fence and a latching gate to keep kids out when the pool is not attended by an adult, as well as rescue equipment that you can reach or toss to someone in the case of drowning.

What can you do if you notice someone drowning?

Nurse Rose: If you notice someone drowning or missing near a body of water you should:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Remove the person from water as quickly as possible – either with help from a lifeguard or using rescue equipment you can reach or toss

Seconds matter when someone is drowning – four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.

Find more tips from Nurse Rose.