Enjoy water activities but be careful
As Putnam County enters summer, Sheriff Donald B. Smith offers water safety tips for residents. He notes that “although water sports like swimming, wading, boating and water skiing are fun and exciting, the facts surrounding drowning incidents throughout the United States are astounding.”
The sheriff supplied the following statistics:
- Each day in the United States, nine people drown. For each death caused by drowning, there are 1 to non-fatal submersion accidents serious enough for the victims to be hospitalized.
- Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to14.
- Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.
- Among children 1 to 4 years old, most drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools.
- Approximately 19 percent of child drowning fatalities take place in public pools with certified lifeguards on duty.
- Approximately 77 percent of those involved in a home-drowning accident had only been missing for five minutes or less.
- In nearly 9 out of 10 child drowning deaths, a parent or caregiver claimed to be watching the child.
Sheriff Smith believes that these tragedies can be greatly reduced if the following simple safety tips are followed:
- Never swim alone or in unsupervised places.
- Remember the danger of drinking alcoholic beverages and swimming, boating, or water skiing.
- Never eat or chew gum while swimming, diving, or playing in water. Eating or chewing gum may cause choking.
- Check the depth of the water before entering it. The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping.
- Have a telephone in the immediate area of a swimming location.
- Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Thunderstorms and strong winds are dangerous to swimmers and boaters alike.
“Summer should be a prime time for outdoor recreation,” said Sheriff Smith. “There isn’t a better place to enjoy water activities than at one of the many pristine beaches and waterways that exist in Putnam County. Unfortunately, however, there have already been four drowning deaths in the Hudson Valley region within the past few days. By reminding our friends and neighbors of these helpful safety tips, we wish everyone a happy and safe summer.”