Karin Caifa, Reporting

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and for many that will mean time in the pool. But before you jump in, experts recommend heeding some pool safety tips for all ages.

Swimming is a major part of summer fun. But the consumer product safety commission warns it can also be dangerous, even deadly, especially for very young children.

A report from Consumer Product Safety Commission finds, on average, 390 children younger than age 15 drown in pools and spas every year. Three-quarters of those fatalities are younger than five.

The majority of incidents occur in backyard pools, so the American Red Cross urges everyone to think like a lifeguard.

“Many people think that the right thing to do is jump in and go after somebody, but that can put two lives in danger. So we want to make certain that any rescuer is doing the right thing and keeping themselves safe as well,” said Connie Harvey with the American Red Cross.

If you do see someone in distress, shout for help and get attention of others; reach or throw a rescue or flotation device; call 911 if necessary; and give immediate care, if needed.

“A very important message is that everyone needs to know CPR, so that in the event that something does happen, they’ll know how to respond,” Harvey said.

In addition to making sure kids have swimming training, the CPSC advises adults get comfortable in the water too.

“If you’re from a family where the adults have never learned to swim, make it a family affair,” said the CPSC’s Inez Tenenbaum. “Go take swimming lessons this summer. You’ll have a lot of fun learning to swim.”


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