Editor’s Note: Portions of this article has been updated since it’s original publication in 2014.
With warmer weather on the way, many families will head to the lake to beat the heat and cool off. To help keep you and your family safe, the experts from The Safety Source-Injury Prevention Service at Children’s Medical Center have come up with five lake safety tips.
5 Lake Safety Tips From Children’s HealthSM
1. Active supervision is the best protection. Jamie Pelletier, Injury Prevention Program Coordinator at Children’s Health, recommends that you assign an adult to be the Water Watcher responsible for supervising children in the water at all times. The designated Water Watcher must stay completely focused on watching the children in the water and not texting, reading, socializing, drinking, etc. Depending on how long you will be at the lake, rotating Water Watcher shifts may be necessary. 2. Whether you’re on a boat or a personal water craft, everyone should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. You will know if the PFD (like a life jacket) fits properly, because it will be snug, yet comfortable. Make sure it can’t slip above the chin or ears when lifted at the shoulders. 3. According to Texas law, you must be 16 or older to operate a motor-powered boat. Teens younger than 16 are able to operate personal watercrafts, like a Sea-Doo, under adult supervision according to these boating rules. 4. Only swim in designated swimming areas. If you let your children swim in the open water, it may be difficult for other boaters to see them. Also, make sure that you and your children don’t dive into the lake, because it’s usually too dark to see just how far down the bottom really is. 5. Throw, don’t go. If you see someone struggling in the water, instead of swimming out to help them, find a flotation device to throw to them or extend a pole or a tree branch that they can grab. Never jump in to save someone, because you could be pulled under, too. You can learn more tips about how to be safe around the lake at http://www.knowbeforeyougo.org/.
Do you have any lake safety tips of your own you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below to tell us how you keep your family safe at the lake.