State Police offers water safety tips

ALPENA — With summer approaching, and the lakes finally free of ice, the Michigan State Police reminds you to take extra precaution before participating in water activities.

Drowning is the nation’s fifth-leading cause of accidental death for all ages and the second-leading cause of unintentional injury for children age one to 14 years.

“With the proper precautions, drowning and near-drowning incidents are preventable,” said Community Service Trooper Ashley Simpson.

“To reduce the risk of drowning,” she added, ” it is important for parents to teach children proper water safety at a young age. Many young children have no fear of water, as they cannot comprehend how dangerous it can be.”

Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2012, alcohol was the leading factor in water-related deaths, while operator inattention was the leading factor for water-related injuries.

Beach safety tips:

∫ Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating.

∫ Only swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard or adult.

∫ Stay within designated swimming areas. Don’t swim near piers, pilings, platforms, docks, fishermen or tethered boats.

∫ Never swim alone, and don’t swim too far from shore.

∫ Heed warning flags at public beaches. A red flag means conditions are hazardous and you should not swim.

∫ Children or inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

∫ Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

∫Always enter the water feet-first. Never dive head-first into the water.

∫ Beware of rip currents and undertow. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current, then swim to shore.

Pool safety tips:

∫ Never leave a child alone near a pool — not even for a minute to answer the phone or doorbell.

∫ Designate a responsible adult to watch the pool as the lifeguard.

∫ Remove pool covers prior to pool use.

∫ After swimming, remove all toys from the water and deck to avoid attracting young children into the pool unsupervised.

∫ Keep a phone and lifesaving equipment, including a pole, rope and personal flotation devices, by the pool.

∫ Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars.

∫ Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence and into the pool.