'Think First' When at the Pool or Beach

girl swimming; 'Think First' When at the Pool or BeachDrowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children less than 14 years of age. Each year 5,000 children are hospitalized from near drowning incidents.
According to the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation, a child can become submerged in just 10 seconds, two minutes later lose consciousness and in four to six minutes sustain permanent brain damage.
Teaching children and families to Think First when they are at the pool, beach, or boating can save lives.

Water Safety at the Pool and Beach
Adults and teens should always watch the children they are responsible for when at the pool or beach. Even when lifeguards are present, don't assume someone is always watching. The ThinkFirst Foundation says young children do not cry, call for help or splash, which puts them at greater risk for drowning.
Follow a few safety tips to keep children safe:
  • Don't rely on flotation devices or inflatable toys. Adult supervision is necessary when flotation devices are used to prevent drowning.
  • Teach children to swim with a buddy and never swim alone. 
  • Teach children not to reach into the water from the sides of pools or docks. They should ask an adult to retrieve toys and flotation devices. 
  • Children should walk, not run, and avoid pushing or rough housing near swimming pools and on docks.
  • Have children enter the water feet first to check for water depth and obstacles. 
  • Instruct children to dive only in designated diving areas that are supervised.

Boating Safety


You never know when a wave might hit your canoe, kayak or boat. Following these tips could help keep children safe:

  • Everyone should wear life jackets when boating. A type I life jacket, one rated to keep the boater's head and chin above water, will keep children and adults upright in the water.
  • Supervise children and teach teens to never boat alone and always boat with a buddy.
  • Teach teens to boat safely. They should take a safe boating class, boat at prudent speeds, observe the rules of boating and be respectful of swimming and wildlife areas.

The Kohl's Safety Center at the American Family Children's Hospital, the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation and Safe Kids Coalition want you to prevent drowning and injuries when at the pool or the beach.