Swimming safety

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office responds to water emergencies and patrols all 104 named lakes and three major rivers in the county.  HCSO responds to and investigates water emergencies in all bodies of water -- including swimming pools and hot tubs.  We urge all residents to enjoy water-related activities by staying safe and being vigilant when supervising children.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under age five.  It is the second leading cause of accidental death for older children.  Drowning is preventable and parents/caregivers should practice safety measures when children are in the water or near the water.

Safety reminders for swimming: Watch-Wear-Learn

WATCH – your kids

  • In 70% of cases where young children drowned, one or both parents were nearby. Being nearby isn’t enough. Parents must avoid distractions such as using cell phones or talking with other adults.
  • Parent supervision is needed even when there are lifeguards on duty.  Parents are the first line of defense against drowning. Lifeguards are watching many people and they are the second line of defense. 
  • Drowning is typically a silent event and the victim does not splash or yell. As a result, parents need to maintain visual contact with their children who are in the water -- or near the water. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under age five.

WEAR – a life jacket

  • Weak swimmers or non-swimmers may wear life jackets in lakes, swimming pools, and any body of water.  Adult supervision is still needed.
  • Do not rely on water wings or other inflatable devices.  Select a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

LEARN  -- to swim & learn more

  • Learn to swim. Kids and adults must know how to swim in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Many safety experts recommend that kids learn to swim by age 4.
  • Learn about safety equipment – keep a shepherd’s hook near a pool for rescues. 
  • Learn about the recommendations for pool drains.  Teach children not to play with drains.
  • Learn CPR and learn more about water safety.

Resources
MN Water Safety Coalition
Safety information about pool drains (Abbey's Hope)
Guide to life jackets (PFD Manufacturers Assc.)
SafeKids USA
Safety for Residential Pool & Spa Owners
National Drowning Prevention Alliance