Swimming: Remember water safety when beating the heat

With the onset of really hot weather, many local residents will decide the best way to cool off is to head for the water, whether it be a swimming pool, a lake or the river. That may mean trouble.

Deaths by drowning remain a regular occurrence in our region. Just a few weeks ago, a man drowned in a private lake in Belmont County, Ohio.

Taking a dip in the water or, perhaps, enjoying an afternoon of boating are not entirely carefree recreation. Ignoring common-sense safety precautions can result in tragedy.

And when children are involved, the danger is especially great. Among the most common water-related accidents are drownings of young children no one even noticed going near a swimming pool.

Pools simply must not be accessible to children without adult supervision. If you own a pool, check it to ensure there is no way a child can sneak past your fence or whatever other security you use.

Back to those simple precautions for everyone: Another major cause of water-related deaths is use of alcohol or illicit drugs by those who go swimming or boating. Dont do it, folks.

Remember the old warnings about not going in the water too soon after eating, not becoming too tired while swimming, wearing life vests or similar gear while boating, etc. That nagging voice reminding you of all the things you were told as a kid? Listen to it.

If you have friends or family members who cannot swim, be cautious when they are near the water, perhaps in a boat.

Perhaps most important, never go in the water, whether as a swimmer or boater, alone. The buddy system has been proven time and time again to be a life saver.

Following water safety precautions is not difficult. Doing so could save a life, perhaps yours.