Editor's Note: The following is a Hennepin County Sheriff's Office press release.
Spring Break from area schools means additional free time for many children and families. Please remember recommended safety tips for water safety.
Ice on all bodies of water throughout Hennepin County is variable in thickness. Snow makes it difficult to determine the location of thin ice. Remember, no ice is ever completely safe. When children have time to explore the outdoors, they may wander onto the ice. People walking on frozen bodies of water should use caution and children should be supervised at all times when they are on or near lakes, rivers, ponds, and creeks.
During Spring Break, if you will be enjoying a beach, water park, swimming pool, or hot tub -- please review safety precautions and remember to Watch, Wear, and Learn.
Watch your children on or near the water
- For swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, and other water-related activities, a responsible adult should provide careful and constant supervision of children. Even when a life guard is on duty, a parent must supervise their children.
- Hotels may offer day camps or babysitting for children. If swimming is a camp activity, ask about the adult-to-child ratio of supervision. Consider opting-out of the swimming activity or the parent may attend the swimming activity to provide their own supervision.
- Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4. Pre-school aged children should be an arm’s reach away from a parent.
Wear a life jacket
- If you are walking, skating, or using recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles or ATVs on the ice – wear a life jacket. All deputies wear life jackets while on the ice. Adult supervision is still needed even with life jackets.
- Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear Coast Guard approved life jackets at swimming pools or water parks. Consider bringing child-sized life jackets with you when you visit a swimming pool. Remember, parents must supervise children even when they are wearing life jackets.
Learn to swim & learn about water safety
- Teach your kids to swim. Lessons are recommended starting at age four. Now is a good time to sign up for swimming lessons prior to the summer swim season.
- Keep safety equipment nearby. For safe rescues, use a shepherd’s hook to pull a submerged person to the water’s edge. Or hand something to a struggling person and pull to safety.
- Teach children to stay away from swimming pool/spa drains and other pool openings to avoid entrapment. Report damaged or non-compliant drains and covers. Do not enter a pool or spa with a broken, loose or non-compliant drain cover.