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May 20, 2019

The week before Memorial Day (May 20-26, 2019) is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this awareness week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming by minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity every week, including water-based physical activity, can benefit everyone’s health. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries linked to the water we swim, play, and relax in and share, this summer and year-round.

“Staying out of the water when you are sick and teaching your children how to swim can keep you and your family safe and healthy in the water this summer”, said Miranda Hawker, Florida Department of Health in Indian River Health Officer. 

Statistics show that two children under the age of 14 die from drowning every day. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old. By following these guidelines, we can make sure our children stay safe in and around water.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to swim
  • Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets as directed
  • Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmer
  • Know CPR
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing
  • Use locks/alarms for window and doors

Illnesses caused by germs in pools, hot tubs/spas and water playgrounds/splash pads, sicken people every year. During 2000-2014, nearly 500 outbreaks were linked nationwide to recreational swimming in public pools. Keep these tips in mind to keep yourself and others healthy when you swim.

  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea
  • Rinse off in the shower before you get in the water
  • Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area, not poolside
  • Don’t pee or poop in the water
  • Don’t swallow the water

Following these steps, will help you protect yourself and loved ones while maximizing the health benefits of swimming.

For more information on swimming safety, visit

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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