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At DriveitHOME, our goal is to help parents keep their teens safe and since car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, that is where we put most of our focus. But driving isn’t the only danger facing your teen.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for teens – right behind driving – and it is a risk we don’t often think about. With school out, your teen may be spending time with friends at the beach or by the pool, so it is crucial that you talk to them about drowning risks. It only takes a few simple steps to stay safe around water and we’ve got the resources to help.
Know the risks
Though it doesn’t cause as many fatalities as motor vehicles, drowning is still a major danger to teens, and the numbers go up in the summer. Even in areas where a lifeguard is present, your teen needs to know to never swim alone and to make sure the body of water matches their skill level.
We assume most teens are strong swimmers, but swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river. Talk to your teen about the risks of drowning and help them sign up for CPR and swim lessons if they have never taken them. Summer days on the water can turn tragic in seconds, but being prepared can make all the difference.
Take the pledge
As a partner with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Safety Council is also promoting the Pool Safely Pledge to improve everyone’s water safety. As an adult, you can sign the pledge and commit to watching over those around you, but you should also encourage your teen to sign the pledge. It is a good reminder to make safe decisions in and around pools and other bodies of water.
The Pledge covers many of the above points, but there are other issues to talk with your teen about, as well. According to KidsHealth.org, alcohol is involved in about half of all male teen drownings. Just like with driving, your teen must know that there is zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use, and that these substances can drastically increase the odds of injury or death. You should also encourage your teen to never push or jump on others in or around water, and to never dive in unfamiliar or shallow areas.
Summer is a fun time for teens, but it is not without risks. Before your teen heads out for a day on the water, make sure they are ready to pool safely.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.