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This summer, be wise around water

Jun 11, 2019

Swimming, boating or skiing ...warm-weather fun often involves the water.

Water-based activities come with added risks: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Children are especially endangered: Drowning is the second most common cause of injury death among children ages 1 to 14; and drownings peak in June and July.

Swim lessons can help. The CDC found that participation in formal swim lessons helped reduce drowning risks among toddlers and preschool-aged children. However, certain groups, including African American children, were less likely to have participated in formal swim lessons.

To learn more about swim lessons in our region, please call the Cincinnati Recreation Commission at 513-357-POOL (7665) or visit the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s website.

In addition to swim lessons, these strategies can help keep your family safe:

  • Supervise children around water. Designate a responsible adult to watch children around baths, showers, lakes, rivers, pools and other bodies of water. Teach children that it’s not OK to enter or be around water without supervision.
  • Wear U.S Coast Guard-approved life jackets. The CDC notes that life jackets should be used regardless of the distance to be traveled, the size of the boat, or the swimming ability of boaters; and that life jackets can reduce risk for weaker swimmers, too.
  • Use fences and gates to keep people out of the water.
  • To prevent head and neck injuries, follow posted rules about jumping and diving.

For more information about water safety, visit

Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.

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