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Experts provided tips on how to keep your kids safe in and out of the water so that everyone can have a safe and fun summer.

DROWNING DEATHS ON THE RISE

More than 4,000 people died per year due to drowning from 2020 to 2022, which is 500 more per year compared to 2019, a new study found. The group with the greatest increase was children ages 1 to 4. In fact, more kids ages 1 to 4 die from drowning than any other cause of death. But it’s not just little kids: Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14. Here’s what to do to protect your family:

  • Never allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Designate a “water watcher,” even if lifeguards are present. This adult should pay close attention, which means zero distractions, including their cell phone or having a conversation.
  • Get your kids swim lessons. The Red Cross says five basic swimming skills are critical: entering water that’s over your head and returning to the surface; floating for one minute; turning over and around in the water; being able to swim at least 25 yards; and exiting the water.
  • Use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or fishing.
  • Make sure pools and spas are fenced on four sides, with the fence separating the water from the house. A self-closing, self-latching gate and door alarms from the house to the pool also are essential.

HOW TO AVOID TICKS THIS SUMMER

Ticks are always lurking, and tickborne illnesses are common. Although not every tick carries diseases, many do transmit serious illnesses such as Lyme, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

To keep your family safe, follow these tips:

  • Make sure kids wear long sleeves and pants in brushy areas, and have them tuck pants into boots. Light colors make it easier to spot ticks.
  • Treat clothing, hats and camping gear with 0.5 percent permethrin. This should only be used on clothes or gear (not skin).
  • Use EPA-registered repellents on your skin, such as DEET, picaridin and IR3535, and check how often to re-apply.
  • Do a daily tick check on yourself and the kids. Look in the folds of the elbows, behind the knees, on the scalp and inside the belly button.
  • For pets, check ears, bellies and near tails. Ask your vet about the best tick preventive, too.
  • Remove ticks ASAP. Use tweezers or a tick tool to grasp it as close as possible to the skin, pulling upward with steady, even pressure. Pull hard, but don’t freak out if the mouthparts remain. Clean the area with soapy water. Call your pediatrician if a rash or other symptoms occur.

— Arricca Elin SanSone is a New York-based health and lifestyle writer.

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