Summer has officially begun! Summer in Eastern New York is a pleasant and beautiful time of the year. Whether you’re heading out to the beach, camping, attending a community festival, or watching a sports event, it’s important to always stay safe!  At the American Red Cross, we want everyone to enjoy the season, so check back with us weekly for safety tips you can follow all summer long.

For part 1 of our Summer Safety Series, we’re focusing on water safety.

Before going in, on or around the water, every member of your family should become “water smart.” This starts with learning how to make good choices around the water, and being able to perform the basic skills of water competency.

If you own a pool, you should definitely learn CPR, too. Visit for training opportunities in your area and/or online. A variety of water safety courses and resources are also available at

Whether you’re swimming at home, or heading out to the lake or the beach, follow these five tips to enjoy the water as safely as possible:

  1. Prevent unsupervised access to water. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers. Wherever you are, keep a constant eye out for any water dangers such as portable splash pools/slides, buckets, and bathtubs.
  2. Adults — actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers at all times. Kids — follow the rules!
  3. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat or in any situation that is beyond your swimming skill level.
  4. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair — everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Designate a “Water Watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next “Water Watcher” takes over.
  5. Download the Red Cross Swim App for kid-friendly games and activities and water safety information for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at

And if you are a dog owner, be sure to check out these dog water safety tips from WebMD.