In 2017, there were 116 drownings in Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging residents to observe water safety practices around pools, lakes and spas this summer. May is National Water Safety Month, an observance designed to remind Michiganders to take the proper precautions during water-related activities during the upcoming summer months, and decrease the number of water-associated injuries and deaths in the process. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of death for all ages in the United States and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 116 drownings in the state last year, 109 were non-boating related. “Swimming and boating are popular summer activities and Michigan is home to thousands of lakes, rivers and pools for families to enjoy,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “Water safety should be a concern no matter where you and your family recreate this summer, and we urge Michigan residents to follow water safety best practices when in and on the water.”
Follow these tips to help ensure the safety of individuals participating in water-related activities:
- Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating.
- Stay within designated swimming areas.
- Never swim alone, always swim with a buddy.
- Enter the water feet first. Serious injuries can occur from diving headfirst into and hitting the bottom.
- Heed warning flags at public beaches.
- Use a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device when boating.
- Do not leave a child unattended near a pool
- Enclose pools with self-locking/self-closing fences.
- Keep lifesaving equipment (pole, rope, flotation devices) near the pool.