Water and Ice Safety

Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds. They typically occur when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse of supervision. For every child that drowns, an additional four are hospitalized for near-drownings. Fifteen-percent of children admitted for near-drownings die in the hospital. Adult drownings are often caused by impairment brought on by the use of alcohol or drugs.

Swimming Safety Tips

Swim Lessons

  • Swim only if a lifeguard or a grown-up gives you permission.
  • Everyone age 3 and up is encouraged to learn to swim.
  • Obey the posted rules.
  • Check with the lifeguard to find out how deep the water is.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Never jump or dive unless the lifeguard or a grown-up says it is okay to do so.
  • Don't eat candy or chew gum when swimming.
  • Never swim at night.
  • Get out of the water right away if you hear thunder or see lightning.
  • Swim in supervised areas only.
  • Watch out for the "dangerous too's": Too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Don't mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgement, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.

PFDs, Whistle, Buddy System

Swimming Sanitation

  • Avoid swimming when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for children in diapers.
  • Refrain from swallowing pool water, or even having water get in your mouth.
  • Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilets or changing diapers.
  • Take your children on regular restroom breaks and check diapers often. Waiting to hear, "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
  • Move away from the pool area to change diapers.
  • Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming, concentrating on areas that could be contaminated with fecal matter.

Ice Safety Tips

Ice Self-Rescue

  • A minimum thickness of six inches is necessary to safely support one person. This requires 5-7 days of temperatures in the low 20's on still water.
  • Central Ohio ice is never thick enough to support a vehicle so avoid driving on any waterways.
  • Avoid lakes and ponds with fountains or aerators as these devices prevent water from freezing in a manner that makes it safe.
  • Advise other people not going with you where and when you plan to be on the ice, and when you plan to return.
  • Limit your time on the ice to daylight hours, or to artificially illuminated areas if after dark.
  • If possible, take a cell phone with you in a plastic bag.
  • Keep an extra set of dry clothing and blankets in your vehicle or nearby.
  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or a thermally-insulated float coat.
  • Carry ice-picks or another tool that can be used to pull yourself out of the water should you fall through.
  • Carry a whistle or other signaling device.
  • If a person or animal has fallen through the ice, stay on shore and call 9-1-1. Have someone wait for Fire & EMS so they can direct responders to the emergency site. If the victim is retrieved prior to emergency responder arrival, use any available blankets or dry clothing to maintain their body heat.
  • If you fall through the ice, stay as calm as possible. Try using ice picks or keys to dig into the ice and pull yourself out, then crawl across until you reach shore. If you cannot self-rescue, conserve body heat by pulling your knees closer to your chest and minimizing movement.