Keep kids safe swimming in Maryland waters

LakeSwimmingIt's summer in Maryland, and the beaches, lakes and swimming holes beckon to keep kids cool. Safety, however, is of utmost importance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 10 unintentional drownings every day in the U.S., two of which are children younger than 14.

Here are some tips from the American Red Cross on swimming safely in lakes, rivers and streams.

Tips on swimming safety

  • Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Be aware of unexpected changes in air or water temperature.
  • Note fast-moving currents, waves and rapids, even in shallow water.
  • Be aware of sudden drop-offs that change water depth.
  • Ensure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Swimming in a natural body of water is different than swimming in a pool; more skill and energy is required.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child's life to another child.
  • Keep children under constant watch and refrain from distractions.
  • Ensure that inexperienced swimmers stay within an arm's reach.
  • Have weaker swimmers use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in or around water. Do not rely on water wings or inflatable toys.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Don't jump into water from a tree, ledge or bridge.
  • If a child is missing, always check the water first.
  • Be aware that natural water can become contaminated from sewage, animal waste and water runoff following a rainfall. Swimming or playing in such water may result in illness. Check for current conditions of many of Maryland's beaches and lakes.

Tips courtesy of the American Red Cross

Check out our story Beaches off the beaten path… and other places to swim