Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to some of our nation's finest fishing, boating and swimming spots, but without proper precautions, even the shallowest pool or the calmest lake can prove dangerous for children as well as adults. "Whether you're heading up to the Boundary Waters or taking the family to the beach, it's important to keep an eye on the weather, pay attention to your surroundings and each other, and wear appropriate water safety gear," says St. Luke's family physician Douglas Forgit, MD,
Mariner Medical Clinic.
To protect yourself and your family on and in the water, Dr. Forgit recommends the following water safety tips:
- Learn to swim (this applies to adults as well as children)
- Keep a close watch on children, even if they're good swimmers
- Teach children to always have a swimming buddy
- Keep children away from pool or spa drains
- Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for all boating and water sports activities
- Fit the life jacket to the child's size and weight
- Have children practice swimming and floating with a life jacket
- Learn how to perform CPR
- Learn how to use rescue equipment
"Swimming in open water is very different than swimming in a pool," Forgit says. "Make sure you and your family are prepared to handle the unexpected, whether that's a sudden drop-off, a strong river current or quick change in the weather." Then make the most of these precious summer months!