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Stay water safe

We may be in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but since it’s summertime, there’s another danger lurking.

You might be planning a family trip to the beach — where, we hope, you’ll get within six feet of nobody but your family — or you might have your own pool at home where you can cool off.

However, the need for water safety doesn’t stop for pandemics, summertime fun or anything else. Here are some water safety tips from the American Red Cross:

• Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

• Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

• Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

• Maintain constant supervision.

• Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.

• If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.

• Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

• If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

• Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

• Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

• Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.

• Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

• Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.