Summa-time, summa-time, sum-sum summa-time! Don’t we all love it? While summer can be a lot of fun, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reminds you that taking some basic precautions to keep you and your kids safe can go a long way in keeping the fun going! 

Here is the second in a four-part series of articles with safety tips from the Department of Public Health to help you stay safe while you are having your summertime fun!  

In this edition, we are looking at Water and Pool Safety. Swimming and frolicking in the midday sun may be a lot of fun, but there are dangers that can be avoided with common sense safety. 


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Drowning is a leading cause of death among young children, both nationally and here in the State of Massachusetts, with backyard pools posing the highest risk for children under the age of 5.  

Here some tips that will help you to prevent water-related injury and drowning: 

  • Children should be supervised in and around water at all times. 
  • Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, including the bathtub, an adult should be within an arm's length at all times providing "touch supervision." 
  • Completely separate the house and play area of the yard from the pool area with a fence. Consider automatic door locks or alarms to prevent access. 
  • Remove floats, balls, and other toys from the pool after use so that children are not tempted to reach for them. After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they cannot get back in. 
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a phone near the pool. 
  • Do not use toys such as "water wings” or "noodles” in place of life jackets. These are not designed to keep swimmers safe. 
  • For children who cannot swim, use a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. DPH, in cooperation with the USCG, has created a fit test video that can assist with proper fit testing of life jackets. Check out this video from the DPH: 


In public swimming areas: 

  • Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible, and swim only in designated swimming areas. 
  • Always swim with a buddy. 
  • Look for signage at beaches. DPH collects beach water quality data and notifies the public about bacteria levels to minimize swimming-associated illness and injury. 

In our next DPH Summer Guidance article, we'll be taking about Window Safety.

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