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Officials urge residents to practice water safety
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As temperatures climb, many Dawson County residents will be headed to the water in an effort to escape the heat.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, swimming is one of the most popular sports in the country. Though swimming does offer an easy way to stay cool and keep active during the summer months, it may also lead to dangers such as injury or drowning.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control states that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death in children under 14, and more than half of water related injuries result in hospitalization.

Whether you're by the pool, at the lake or on the beach, Dawson County Emergency Services recommends following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to stay safe in the water:

• Don't ever swim alone.

• Never swim in canals or any fast moving water.

• Never dive into water unless you know the depth of the water and have checked for underwater objects.

• Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.

• Never leave children alone in or near the water, even for a moment.

• If your home has a pool, install a fence at least 4 feet in height around all four sides of the pool. Make sure the gates open out from the pool and self-close at a height children cannot reach.

• Keep rescue equipment, such as a shepherd's hook and a life preserver, as well as a portable telephone near the pool.

• Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult - preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR - should be within arm's length.

• Do not use a pool if there are broken or missing drain covers. If you have a swimming pool, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers.

Remember that swimming is a fun activity for all. Follow these guidelines to keep you and your family safe this summer.

Dawson County Emergency Services is committed to the preservation of the lives and property of the residents of Dawson County.