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Summer water safety

Jinny Hopp, former Human Environmental Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


It's summer time and there's no better place to be on a hot, sunny day than in the water. As adults, we are responsible for ensuring that children are safe during water play. The National Safe Kids Coalition reports that 16 percent of all deaths of children under the age of 14 are from drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional deaths for this age group.

Why is drowning so prominent in this age category? We know that typically most drowning deaths are due to children being unattended for even a short moment of time. It takes less than two minutes for a child to lose consciousness. This is approximately the same amount of time it takes you to answer the phone. Drowning is a "silent event" and even though you may believe you will hear a child in distress, that is not true in the case of drowning.

Here are some tips that you can apply during visits to the swimming pool or on that summer outing so you and your kids can enjoy playtime in the water.


  • Never leave children alone in or near water.
  • Never rely on a personal flotation device or swimming lessons to protect a child.
  • Empty or turn over wading pools, buckets or similar containers immediately after use.
  • Learn CPR and keep rescue equipment, and emergency numbers readily available.
  • Enroll children in swimming classes by a qualified instructor.
  • Enclose your pool or spa with a four-sided fencing at least 5 feet high with self-closing or self-latching gates.
  • Pay attention to the water itself. Be aware of undercurrents and the changing nature of the lake or ocean where you swim.


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Last Updated 06/27/2011