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With more than 2,000 lakes and rivers throughout the state, Idaho has one of the highest youth drowning rates in the county and the Kroc Center is committed to helping keep our kids’ water safe. Anyone watching children who are in, on, or around water must understand that water emergencies can happens quickly and suddenly. Any source of water is a potential danger, especially for young children and weak swimmers.
The American Red Cross Longfellow’s WHALE Tales lessons teach children about water safety in different environments, such as pools, waterparks, oceans, lakes and rivers. It teaches them about water hazards around the home and neighborhood and covers sun safety, boating safety and much more.
DID YOU KNOW
• Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years.
• Drowning usually happens quickly and silently—many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than 5 minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
• Drowning can occur in both in and out of the home.
• Children under 1 year most often drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
• Children ages 1 to 4 years most often drown in home pools.
• Older children most often drown in natural water settings such as lakes and rivers
NO ONE IS DROWN PROOF
Participation in any swim lesson program cannot “drown proof” your child, despite what some may claim. No child is ever “drown proof.”
• Water Safety and Learn-to-Swim courses should be age-appropriate.
• Learning to swim well takes time. Do not expect that children will learn to swim in one set of lessons or even one season.
GENERAL WATER SAFETY
Owning a pool or hot tub comes with many responsibilities. These include taking steps for proper operation, such as keeping the water clean and at an appropriate temperature. Responsible ownership also includes taking steps for safe use, such as providing layers of protection.
Swimming in lakes, rivers and streams can be safe at designated swimming areas that are protected by lifeguards. Swimming in a natural body of water is different from swimming in a pool. More skills and energy are required for natural water environments because of cold water and air temperatures, currents, waves and other conditions—and these conditions can change due to weather.
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BE COOL, FOLLOW THE RULES
Rules are designed to help keep us safe and to be considerate of other people. It’s the lifeguards job enforce the rules at swimming areas. Always listen to the lifeguard and follow the rules.
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DON'T JUST PACK IT, WEAR YOUR JACKET
A life jacket is a personal flotation device (PFD) approved by the United States Coast Guard for use during activities in, on or around water. A life jacket should always be worn while boating.
But life jackets are not just for boating. Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets whenever they are in or around water. Certain types of life jackets are designed to keep your head above water and help you remain in a position that allows you to breathe. You should always wear the type that is recommended for the activity you will be doing and the place you will be swimming or boating.
IN YOUR HOUSE OR IN YOUR YARD, WATCH FOR WATER BE ON GUARD
Water safety is important wherever there is water—not just at a swimming pool or beach. Did you know that after pools, bathtubs are the second leading location where young children drown? Did you know that 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock over an adult? A person can drown in just a few inches of water so be sure to play it safe in your house or in your yard.
KNOW ABOUT BOATING BEFORE YOU GO FLOATING
Boating is fun, but it can be dangerous. Learning about boats and understanding the safety rules of boating will help you stay safe while boating.
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LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Jumping into the water can be very fun. But you always want to check the water first, to make sure it is safe. Be on the lookout for people and other objects that you could land on.
REACH OR THROWN, DON'T GO
Did you know we can help someone who is having trouble in the water without getting wet? Going in the water to help someone who is having trouble could cause you to get in trouble too. When helping someone in the water it is always best to reach or throw, don’t go.
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SWIM AS A PAIR NEAR A LIFEGUARD CHAIR
Playing in the water can be fun, but swimming with someone else is even better, and safer. You should always swim as a pair and you should always swim near a lifeguard or other adult who knows how to swim and is responsible for watching you.
THINK SO YOU DON'T SINK
Even when you are careful around the water, accidents and emergencies can happen. It is important to stay calm and keep yourself safe when something unexpected occurs.
THINK TWICE BEFORE GOING NEAR WATER OR ICE
Cold water can be very dangerous even in the summer. In cold water your body temperature can drop quickly leading to hypothermia. Always use caution when you are around cold water and think twice when you are around ice.
TOO MUCH SUN IS NO FUN
Make sure you don’t ruin the fun by getting to much sun. Be sure to put on sunscreen, wear protective clothing such as a hat, and limit your sun exposure this summer.
WAVE, TIDE, OR RIDE, FOLLOW THE GUIDE
Waterparks are designed to be fun and exciting and can come with many kinds of attractions including wave pools, slides, and lazy rivers. It is important to remember that many of these come with special rules so be sure to follow the lifeguard’s instructions to stay safe.