From staff reports
LEWISTOWN - Summer brings with it a set of concerns that are typically not an issue in the cold winter months, especially in Central Pennsylvania. Water safety is important for children and adults, and the American Red Cross has recommendations for beach, pool and swim safety as families prepare for warm weather and vacations.
Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
Always swim with a buddy; 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 water safety and swimming courses.
Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
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.
Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
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 fittings, and do not allow breath-holding contests or someone who has hyperventilated to swim underwater.
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.
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.
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.
Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
Enroll in first aid and CPR and AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you're not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a four-foot-high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when not in use and remove any ladders or steps used for access. Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool.
For more information on water safety or courses available through the American Red Cross, call 248-4213 or visit www.redcross.org.