How to avoid drowning

Swimming pools and beaches are popular destinations for California residents to escape the summer heat. However, poor maintenance or supervision can increase the risk of injuries or deaths occurring.

Approximately 3,960 people drown every year in the United States. These tips can help you or your loved ones avoid becoming a statistic.

Know your risk

Children between the ages of one and four are at the highest risk of drowning. Most drownings in children occur in swimming pools. Adult men account for 80% of drowning deaths due to higher rates of risk-taking behavior and alcohol use. American Indian and Alaska Native people drown at twice the rate of white people and Black people drown at 1.5 times the rate of this group.

Take precautions

One of the most effective ways to reduce drowning risk is to make sure you and your family learn basic water safety skills by taking swimming lessons. Supervise children closely when swimming and make sure there is a lifeguard on duty. Avoid swimming while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are not a good swimmer, wear a life jacket.

Understand the environment

If you are swimming at a beach, be aware of ocean rip currents. Rip currents may appear as a gap of darker, calmer water between areas of whitewater and breaking waves. If you get caught in a rip current, do not panic or attempt to swim against the current. Instead, swim out of the current in a direction that follows the shoreline. Call for help if you need it.

Operators of pools and other swimming areas are responsible for maintaining a safe swimming environment. However, swimmers also must take responsibility for their safety.

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