Ohio has lost three children to accidental drowning this month, and summer has not even officially started. We encourage all parents to take extra precautions around swimming pools at home, at hotels, and any time you are near a body of water.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children ages 1 to 4 in Ohio; it is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 14. Survivors of severe drowning incidents can experience long-term disabilities, including memory problems, learning deficiencies, and loss of basic cognitive functioning. According to the CDC, one in five children under the age of 14 years die from drowning, adding up to more than 350 children a year.

We are committed to helping families enjoy swimming safely and to the prevention of drowning deaths. We recommend the following safe swimming tips:

Swimming Lessons

Every family member should know how to swim, and the Red Cross provides a list of minimum skills swimmers should possess. Hastings Water Works offers clients swim lessons for children 3 years old through adult. Learn-to-Swim lessons are offered for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, and are taught comparable to the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim guidelines. All of our instructors are certified American Red Cross lifeguards. Schedule swim lessons for your family members now.

Proper Fencing and Safety Equipment

One of the biggest risks of drowning comes from a child reaching a pool without anyone’s knowledge. Proper fencing and security around your pool can help ensure that this never happens to you. A self-closing fence that is at least four feet tall around the pool deck is recommended. Have U.S. Coast Guard approved life rings nearby at all times.

Learn CPR

The quicker the response, the more likely a drowning victim can be resuscitated. Learn CPR. Get certified.

Keep Small Children within Reach

Small children, even ones who know how to swim, are at the highest risk. A parent or guardian should be within arm’s reach at all times. Do not rely on flotation devices, such as water wings or pool floats, as a safety measure, and never leave children unattended. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by a cell phone or anything else while kids are in and around water. Remember: Babies can drown in an inch of water.

Designate a Water Watcher

SafeKids.org recommends designating a water watcher. “When children are swimming and there are several adults present, make sure kids are actively supervised at all times by choosing a Water Watcher. A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the kids in the water without distractions and wear a Water Watcher card. After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is responsible for the active supervision.”

To the families of those children who recently lost their lives in drowning accidents, the entire Hastings Water Works family sends our love and prayers.