Top Water Safety Tips for Families

Both adults and children should be cautious when in or near the water.

Water can be a five letter word for family fun if you remember to put safety first. Here are a few tips to help avoid accident or injury whether swimming or boating this summer.

• Start with safety at home. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that on average nearly 400 children up to age 14 drown in a pool or spa each year, and more than 5,000 others visit an emergency room for injuries. Secure your pool and spa with an alarm as well as a fence that's at least four feet tall with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Also consider using a safety cover during the off season.

• Look for a lifeguard. When at the beach, swim only in areas served by a lifeguard. Heed warnings and water advisories, and never swim alone. Always be within arms reach of your children. Know how to recognize rip currents and remember that the way to try to escape them is to first swim parallel until you're out of the current and then to the shore.

• Dress appropriately. That means wearing an appropriate life jacket. In Texas, children younger than 13 in or those on boats smaller than 26 feet must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved vest. It's a good idea for everyone to wear one regardless of boat size and even when kayaking or canoeing.

For more information, such as the answer to the age old question about how long after you eat should you wait before going back in the water, visit our online Health Information pages. No matter what your medical needs are, the Medical Center of Plano is here for you. If you're looking for a doctor, give us a call at 1-855-665-TMCP (8627) for a physician referral.

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