SHELBYVILLE – Swimming is a great way to relax and beat the heat, but before you pack your towels and sunscreen and head to your favorite swimming hole, make sure you follow some basic safety tips.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of American children ages one to 19. Many deaths from drowning can be prevented by following a few simple rules for swimming in pools or natural bodies of water.

HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital recommends the following swimming safety tips to help keep you and your family safe around open water this season:

· Learn how to swim. It is essential if you plan on being in, on or near water. Many organizations provide swim instruction to people of all ages, including local YMCAs.

· Supervise young children. Never allow your children to swim alone without adult supervision.

· Lifeguard on duty. When swimming in bodies of water other than residential pools, swim only when a lifeguard is on duty and in areas designated for swimming.

· Know your limits. If you're not a good swimmer or you're just learning to swim, don't go in water that's so deep you can't touch the bottom and don't try to keep up with skilled swimmers.

· Buddy up. If you’re a good swimmer and have had lessons, keep an eye on friends who aren't as comfortable or as skilled.

· Think before you dive. Do not dive headfirst into shallow or murky water, or water of uncertain depth.

· Use proper floatation devices. Inflatable toys, rafts, air mattresses and water wings should never be used as lifesaving devices for children.

· Learn CPR and first aid. Adults, especially those who are parents or who care for children, should learn basic first aid and CPR.

· Swim sober. Do not swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being under the influence of either or both seriously impairs judgment and coordination and increases the risk of injury or drowning.

Take a CPR class online:

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