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Published July 18. 2012 11:45AM

We've only recently passed the halfway point of the summer season and already we've had numerous drownings occur.

They've happened in the Lehigh River, at Beltzville Lake, at a pool in Kidder Township.

Turn on TV news and you know drownings seem to have been occurring all over the place this year. It's unfortunate.

Every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).It ranks as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

"Fun in the water can turn deadly in only a matter of seconds and it can happen to anyone," said Dr. David Seaberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians."While it's impossible to predict and prevent every scenario, you can take steps to stay safe while still enjoying yourself."

The American College of Emergency Physicians offers this advice:

Supervise Young Children They must be watched at all times when near water.It can take only a matter of seconds for a child to accidentally drown when an adult turns away.

• Learn to Swim Formal swim lessons can protect people, especially young children from drowning.

• Learn CPR It can take paramedics several minutes to arrive.Having CPR skills often times can mean the difference between life and death or permanent brain damage.

• The Buddy System Swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty if possible. Always swim with a buddy.

• Avoid Alcohol Drinking alcohol while on a boat or swimming in the water can severely impair a person's judgment.Never consume alcohol while supervising children.

• Use Life Jackets When on a boat, make sure the number of (Coast Guard approved) life jackets matches the number of passengers and that they are easily accessible.Young children should have a life vest on at all times when on a boat, or in the water. According to the CDC, potentially half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets.

• Air-filled or Foam Toys Not Safety Devices These toys are not substitutes for life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

• Knowing Weather Conditions If strong winds or heavy thunderstorms and lightning roll in, get out of the water and seek shelter immediately.

• Waves and Rip Currents If on the beach, watch for dangerous waves and rip currents.If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore. Once free of the current, swim toward the shore.

This summer still has a lot of time to it. Keep it safe.

When swimming, practice safety. Most of all, use common sense.

By Ron Gower

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