by: Stephanie Duhon

Summer has officially begun and with the July 4th holiday just around the corner, more and more people will be swimming in pools, lakes and rivers. While water safety is important year round, as you might guess, summer is the most dangerous time for drowning. Eighty percent of drowning deaths happen between May and September.

According to the Greater Houston Safe Kids, 78 children drowned in 2010 in Texas, 32 (41 percent) were in the greater Houston area. Many were toddlers who drowned in the family pool.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe around water this summer.

Water Safety Tips:

*Teach your child to swim early

*Use the buddy system; never swim alone

*Be careful around water. Never run, push or jump on others.

*Adults should practice “touch supervision” – when the adult is within touching distance of a child in the water

*Do not depend on “floaties”

*Take a CPR class (The Motherhood Center offers an infant, child and adult CPR class twice a month) and have rescue equipment nearby just in case

*Use life vests in and around water and make sure they fit properly

*Swim in supervised areas and obey all rules and posted signs. Be knowledgeable about where you are swimming, such as water depth, currents, and possible obstructions.

*Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen that protects you from both UVB and UVA rays and limits your time in direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

*Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated

*Unless the area is designated as a diving area, enter feet first

(Tips courtesy of Texas Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross)