Yesterday I blogged about the Faribault Family Aquatic Center. A fun place to bring the family and spend the afternoon swimming and playing in the summer sunshine. One of the things I should have mentioned was while you're there make sure the kids play it safe.

Recent incidents have shown that it only takes a few minutes for an afternoon of fun to turn into tragedy. Over the weekend a 9-year-old boy attending a party in Shorewood was found unresponsive in the pool. He passed away June 28. Also that day, two boys, ages 10 and 11 years old, went missing and were later found submerged in the shallow water of Foot Lake near the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds in Willmar.

Both of these heartbreaking events highlight the necessity of going over the proper swim safety rules with children. Here are a some good rules to follow that I found on the Red Cross website:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first-aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
  • Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10AM and 4PM and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

The Red Cross is a great organization and is very committed to making sure that the young and old alike are aware of how to be safe but still enjoy our pools and lakes. As a matter of fact, I learned how to swim at White Sands Pool by signing up for a Red Cross swimming class when I was younger.

Stay safe while you're enjoying the water this summer and make only good memories.

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