With a number of drowning deaths reported along the New Jersey coast this summer, beach safety should be on everyone’s minds as they visit the Garden State’s shores. Many of these accidents were the result of swimmers getting sucked out by rip currents, which are strong, narrow channels of quick-moving water that can reportedly move faster than an Olympic swimmer.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2005 and 2014 there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States, which equates to about 10 deaths per day. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 years old or younger and drowning is the leading cause of injury death for toddlers. So, what can you do to help keep your family safe while at the beach this summer?
1) Teach Your Children To Swim
Taking formal swimming lessons can significantly reduce the risk of drowning. If you feel unable to teach your child the proper techniques, most public pools or YMCAs will offer lessons. Knowing how to swim doesn’t eliminate the risk of drowning, but it does lower the chances of it happening.
2) Supervise Your Children Closely When Near Water
An adult who can swim should actively supervise children when they are swimming or are near water. It’s important to not get distracted by conversations or you phone, since drowning can happen in a flash.
3) Educate Your Children About Water Safety
Knowing how to swim is one precaution against drowning, but teaching your children to respect the power of water is equally important. The ocean can be unpredictable and dangerous. Teach your children about rip currents and to remain calm if they are pulled into one. Swimming parallel to the shore is usually the best way to escape one.
4) CPR Training
If someone is pulled from the water and isn’t breathing, knowing CPR can be lifesaving. Every second counts, so the faster resuscitation starts, the higher the chance the person has of surviving and without brain damage. Having your CPR certification helps you be prepared for these situations, so even if you know the technique, taking a refresher class is always a good idea.
5) Read Beach Safety Warnings
Most public beaches will post some type of advisory about the strength of surf or rip current at the beach, as well as online. Know what these warnings mean and make smart decisions about whether it’s safe for your family to swim or not.