CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, (608)
PLAN AHEAD FOR WATER SAFETY BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week
is May 21 – 27
MADISON—State health officials are raising awareness about ways to
ensure healthy, safe swimming to prevent recreational water illness and
In the United States, thousands of people get sick each year with
recreational water illnesses caused by germs found where they swim, and
drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children age one to
four. Nationwide, two children under age 14 die from drowning each day.
In Wisconsin, there were 65 total drowning deaths among children and
adults in 2010 alone. Others who have come close to drowning may face
long-term impairments including memory problems, learning disabilities,
permanent physical disabilities and paralysis.
“To make sure swimming is healthy and safe, it’s critical to take
precautions to prevent drowning, and to prevent the spread of germs that
cause illness,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer.
To help prevent recreational water illnesses:
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea. This can spread germs in the
water and make others sick.
- Don't swallow pool or lake water. Avoid getting the water in
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash
your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your
body end up in the water.
- Make sure children who are not toilet-trained wear swim diapers.
- Parents of young children should wash their children before
swimming, take kids to the bathroom every 30 to 60 minutes and check
- Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not
at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
Precautions to prevent drowning:
- Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.
- Ensure that older children and adults know CPR.
- Use life jackets that fit younger or weaker swimmers.
- Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to the swimmers,
even if there is a lifeguard.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when swimming or watching swimmers.
- Check the depth of water before diving to prevent neck/head
- Prevent access to pools when not in use by installing and
maintaining barriers and using locks or alarms for windows and
doors. Pools should have four-sided fencing and weight-bearing
For more information about healthy swimming, visit
For information about drowning prevention, visit
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May 18, 2012