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Keep Your Family Safe Around Water

With summer here, families enjoy water activities like trips to the pool, boating and rafting. If your child is around water this summer, make sure they are watched every second.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children 1-4. Three children die every day from drowning. It’s crucial for parents and caregivers to take steps to keep children safe.

Water Safety Rules for Parents and Children

Here are some rules to follow when a child is near water:

Be aware of small bodies of water. If your child could be near any water area, no matter how small, be careful. These include bathtubs, fishing ponds, ditches, fountains, rain barrels, and watering cans. Empty containers of water when you're done using them. Children get excited about places like these and want to go near them. They need to be watched to make sure they don't fall in.

Always be close by. When a child is swimming, they should always be watched by an adult. The adult should be no more than an arm's length away when an infant, toddler or young child is in or around water.

Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).This critical safety tool can save lives when water emergencies happen.

Don’t get distracted. Keep your eyes on your child. Things like texting, phone calls, computer work and other tasks need to wait until children are out of the water. Adults who are supervising children in the water should not drink alcohol.

Empty inflatable pools. Every time an inflatable pool is used, empty the water and put it away.

Enforce safety rules. No running near the pool and no pushing others underwater.

Install fencing around pools. Prevent swimming around a backyard pool when an adult isn’t around. Put in a four-sided isolation fence that is at least 4 feet tall. The fence should have self-closing and self-latching gates at a height that children can’t reach. Also, place a cover over the pool that can hold the weight of a person.

Wear life jackets. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket around oceans, rivers or lakes. Even if you or your child knows how to swim, wear a life jacket. Be aware of undercurrents and undertows at the ocean or lake. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for young or inexperienced swimmers.

Don’t use substitutes for life jackets. Don't allow your child to use inflatable toys or mattresses in place of a life jacket. These toys may deflate suddenly. Or your child may slip off them into water that is too deep for them.

Make sure kids learn how to swim. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for most children 4 years old and older. The AAP also recommends lessons for younger children depending on several factors.

Get more tips for water safety.

Protection from the Sun

Use these tips to keep your children safe under the sun this summer:

  • Always use sunscreen.
  • Limit your time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest.
  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight.
  • When possible, dress yourself and your children in lightweight cotton clothing that covers the body.
  • Wear a hat with a 3-inch brim all around to shield the face, ears and back of the neck.

Get more tips for protection against the sun.

Protection from Insects

Cover your body.Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and hats to prevent mosquito and tick bites. Use insect repellent on exposed skin.

Clear your yard. Reduce the ticks in your backyard. Remove leaf litter, clear tall brush, mow the lawn frequently and remove old furniture or trash from your yard.

Stay inside at night. Limit time spent outside between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Check your kids and yourself for ticks. If you find a tick attached to skin, there’s no need to panic. Learn how to safely remove a tick with a set of fine-tipped tweezers.

Protect your family from the Zika virus. The virus is spread through mosquito bites and is linked to birth defects. Get tips to prevent the spread of Zika.

Additional Resources

Get more tips for water and sun safety this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides summer safety tips.

Learn how to prevent drowning.

Look before you lock: Never leave kids alone in a hot car.