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Drownings occur way too often in Utah. According to statistics reported today in the Salt Lake Tribune, drowning victims are most often teenage boys and toddlers. The Utah facts reported are:

  • Drownings are a leading cause of death for Utahns under the age of 18;
  • In an average year, 10 Utahns under 18 drown and 82 have near death water experiences; and
  • Last year, six Utahns under the age of 18 drowned and 62 had near death water experiences.

There is still a lot of water fun time left in the 2009 season, but already authorities have logged 11 boating deaths in Utah because life jackets were not worn. This statistic, combined with numbers that suggest that 80 percent of boating deaths nationwide are drownings of people not wearing life jackets underscore what I’ve said before – life jackets are the most important tool to keep you alive when you are enjoying water recreation activities. Other water safety tips highlighted are:

Never be more than an arm’s length away from children when they are around water.

Actively supervise children who are playing in or near water. While supervising, avoid distractions like answering the phone, going to the door, etc.

Where there’s water, designate an adult "child watcher" during parties and family gatherings.

Warn teenagers of the risks of overestimating how well they swim.

Everyone should wear a life jacket while on a boat or during water sports. Children should also wear a life jacket when near open bodies of water.

Learn CPR.

Never swim alone.

Never use "floaties" as life vests. They are toys and won’t prevent drowning.

Don’t allow or expect children to supervise other children in water settings.

Never leave a young child alone in the bathtub.

Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, around a home pool or spa.

Teach your child how to swim but remember there is no substitute for supervision.

Do not let your child drive personal watercraft like jet skis.

Never allow your child to dive into water less than nine feet deep.

Empty all containers (buckets, wading pools, etc) immediately after use and store out of reach.

Source » The Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program

Even though the end of summer is drawing near, don’t let your guard down when it comes to water fun – think, plan, use life vests, be safe and have fun.

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