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Staying safe during summer swimming and avoiding the dangers of drowning

The fun of swimming in the summer sun comes with the threat of sunburns and potential for drowning. Here's how you can stay safe and what to keep in mind for summer.

TEMPERANCE, Mich. — The warm weather of spring and summer are right around the corner and for many it's synonymous with fun at the lake or pool and a cool swim.

But along with that fun comes the threat of sunburns and drowning.

Lori Speegle is the branch executive at the Francis Family YMCA in Temperance, Michigan. As a former lifeguard and Aquatics Director, she knows first-hand the dangers our kids can face each summer when it comes to drowning.

" It can be very quick, and the misconception is that it's usually a loud drowning,” Speegle said. "A lot of drownings usually happen very quietly and silently, so it can happen in an instant."

The CDC says 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day and two out of those 10 are children aged 14 or younger.   

To keep that from happening, you want to keep an eye out at all times and watch those colors you are wearing in the pool, since some bathing suits are harder for lifeguards to see.

"The lighter color suits are more difficult to see underwater,” said Speegle. “Specifically depending on the color on the bottom of the pool. If it starts to blend in with the color on the bottom of the pool, that makes a big difference of what color suit you should wear. Bright colors are always good."

To help protect your kids, you should also surround your pool with a locked fence since it can decrease the risk of death by about 50%. And of course, teaching them to swim is a must.

Summer also comes with the danger of sunburn but that can be reduced by plenty of shade time and sunblock.

Speegle recommends SPF 50. “That's me as a parent, as well as a lifeguard and director. But also sleeves or sun protection. They make a lot of bathing suits now with longer sleeves and longer shorts just to protect us. Hats and glasses are always good."

If you do choose to wear a shirt while swimming, you'll just need to be mindful of what kind you wear. They should be tight on your body since loose ones can come up over your head and suction to your face.

If you do have a loved one that's drowning, call for help instantly and do not go in after them if you are not a strong swimmer. Instead, find something you can throw to them, a kick board, a log, a noddle -- anything that will help them stay afloat.  

One other way to keep a loved one safe while swimming is to learn CPR.

Anyone 13 and up can be certified, and you can get that done at either the YMCA, Red Cross, or American Heart Association.

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