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WATER SAFETY

7 ways you can practice water safety this summer

The temperature is still rising and we all know the best way to beat the heat is to head for the nearest body of water! Whether you're swimming, boating, or heading to the beach, make sure you play it safe when you are in or around water this summer.

Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the US. About 10 people die from drowning each day! Of those deaths, about two are under the age of 14. There are about 5,000 water injuries annually in the US, and about half of those require treatment in an emergency room.

But enough with the scary statistics. The good news is you can prevent accidents by practicing water safety!

If you are going to cool it at the pool or beach this month, here are 7 tips to keep you and your family safe:

It only takes a second – First and foremost, keep an eye on children in the water at all times! Lose sight of your children and you might be faced with a tragic accident.

Learn how to swim – Children (and adults!) who are going to be near water should learn to swim. Swimming classes are offered through the YMCA, American Red Cross, and individual private lessons. A recent survey found 80 percent of the respondents said they could swim, but only about half knew ALL they needed to know to save their life in the water.

Will you be my buddy? – The buddy system is great to employ when swimming, regardless of how old you are. Each person can keep an eye on another. And when swimming in a lake or the ocean, remember to only swim in areas where a lifeguard is present.

"An ounce of prevention… – ...is worth more than a pound of cure," goes the old adage. Safety equipment around your pool, like fencing and water alarms, will prevent accidents. Children are curious by nature, and will sometimes wander toward a pool and fall in. Fencing prevents them from getting to the water, and a water alarm serves as a warning to you that someone has fallen in the pool.

Playing it safe on the water – When you head out in a boat, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. About half of drownings related to boating accidents are the result of someone not wearing a life jacket. And be sure there is more than one person who knows how to operate the boat just in case something happens to the skipper.

Be weather wise – Storms can strike at a moment's notice, especially in Florida. If you're heading to the beach – or just chilling in your backyard – be aware of the weather forecast and keep your eyes on the skies.

Don't get burned – Even if you're going to stay out of the water, you don't want your time near the water to be ruined by too much sun. Apply a lotion with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 at least a half hour before going out in the sun and reapply at least every two hours. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by lotions with higher SPF numbers; the additional protection after 30 is actually very minimal.