Editor's note: The following is courtesy of Safe Kids Snohomish County.
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14. This Labor Day weekend, Safe Kids Snohomish County and its partners urge you to take extra care when in and around water.
“Kids drown quickly and quietly,” said Shawneri Guzman, coordinator of Safe Kids Snohomish County. “As depicted in the movies, a drowning child does not cry or shout for help.”
No matter how good a swimmer you are, it is easy to misjudge the water or your skills. Many lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in the summer. Rivers are unpredictable and dangerous. Even calm rivers hide strong undercurrents, rocks and tree branches.
“A supervised child is in sight at all times, with your undivided attention focused on the child, looking away for even a second can be deadly,” said Guzman.
When there are children in or near the water, adults should take turns serving as the designated “Water Watcher,” paying undivided attention. Visit www.usa.safekids.org/water to download a free Water Watcher badge.
Tips to keep your kids safe this holiday weekend:
- Supervision is Key to Safety: Children and teens can get into trouble in a matter of seconds when around water. Extra precaution and supervision is key to safety when in or near water.
- Know Your Limits: If you are tired, rest and stay out of the water. Drowning happens to even the strongest swimmers who become too tired to make it back to shore.
- Wear a Life Jacket: Even strong swimmers can benefit from a life jacket. Wear a life jacket when swimming, boating, innertubing or rafting. Play toys such as water wings, air mattresses and swim noodles are not safety devices.
- Learn What To Do in an Emergency: Respond quickly when someone appears to be in trouble. Know your location and contact medical personal quickly. Learn CPR.
For your convenience we offer free day-use lifejackets at multiple locations across the county. This is a volunteer based community service and guarantee of availability varies. To ensure your child has the appropriate lifejacket for their age and size, we encourage you to provide your own lifejacket when around open water.
For a list of life jacket sites, go to www.snosafekids.org or call 425-261-3047.
Editor's note: The Port of Edmonds provides free lifejackets for kids.