Water safety reminder

With late ice coming off many of the lakes, the water is only about 40 degrees in many spots. Remember the deeper you go the colder it gets. This year the lakes are dangerously cold due to cold weather temperatures. Enter the water slowly and make sure it feels comfortable for you and your child. A temperature below 70 degrees is cold to most swimmers. Recommended water temperatures vary depending on the activity and a swimmer’s age, as well as a pregnant women. 82 degrees is a comfortable temperature for recreational swimming for children.

Body temperature drops more quickly in water than on land, and it doesn’t take long for hypothermia (when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it) to set in. If a child is shivering or has muscle cramps, get him or her out of the water immediately.

Invest in proper-fitting Coast Guard-approved flotation devices (life vest) and have everyone wear them on a boat at all times. A child should wear it at all times if he or she are near water. Check the weight and size recommendations on the label, then try it on to see if it fits snugly. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support—the collar will keep the child’s head up and face out of the water. Inflatable vests and arm devices such as water wings are NOT effective protection against drowning.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and reapply often, especially to children who are playing in the water. UV sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing also can help provide sun protection.