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Ten Steps to Avoid Drowning in Rivers

Ten Steps to Avoid Drowning in Rivers

Tragedy in Idaho

A 14-year-old boy disappeared June 24 while swimming in the river near the old Teton Dam site. The Utah teen, whose body has still not been found, might be the fourth drowning victim in Idaho in the last week.

Since June 24, a 19-year-old, a 13-year-old boy, and a 21-month-old toddler drowned in separate incidents in Idaho rivers. Tragically, chances are that they are just one of many.

According to the CDC, 10 people die from unintentional drowning each day. Of those 10, two are children age 14 or younger.

While swimming is a popular activity to beat the summer heat, swimming in a river or other moving body of water is risky. If you are planning to go swimming in a canal, river, or stream, make sure to follow these safety measures from the American Red Cross.

Prevent Drowning

  • Never swim alone – Always swim with a buddy. Tell someone when and where you will be swimming before you leave.
  • Don’t drink and swim – Alcohol will impede your ability to swim and may prevent you from recognizing the early signs of hypothermia. Never swim after drinking.
  • Know how to swim – Before going out, make sure everyone involved can swim. Children, regardless of swimming ability, should always be closely monitored.
  • Wear a life vest – Regardless of your swimming ability, wear a certified life vest when swimming in a river. A life vest helps keep you floating if you are caught by a stronger current.
  • Watch the weather –Make sure weather conditions are safe. Rain can raise water levels, increasing the strength of currents and hiding other hazards.
  • Swim in safe areas – Swim in designated swimming areas. When possible, have a lifeguard or other qualified supervisor present.
  • Obey warnings – Obey all safety alerts, signs, and other warnings. Check with local authorities to know about any dangerous areas to avoid.
  • Keep warm – Swimming in cold water can lead to hypothermia, making it harder to swim and can lead to death. Keep towels, blankets, and dry clothes on hand to warm up.
  • Stay calm if in trouble – If caught in a current, float on your back with your feet pointed downstream. Steer out of the main current and onto the shore.
  • Have a way to contact help – Have a phone handy to call 911 in the case of an emergency. Never swim in an area that restricts your ability to signal for help.

Stay Safe

Don’t skip out on any of these safety measures when you, your family, or your friends go swimming. It’s better to carefully plan a safe swimming trip than to carefully plan a funeral.

Have fun and be safe while swimming this summer.

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