When the weather turns warmer, many people seek relief in rivers, lakes and streams. But natural waterways can be dangerous, especially in late spring and early summer. Be aware of swift currents, cool water temperatures, hidden hazards, and uneven bottom surfaces.

Children should only go into the water with:

  • Adult permission
  • A life jacket. Water wings are not life jackets!
  • An adult watching at all times

Cool off safely

American Medical Response, the region’s ambulance service, trains lifeguards and provides river safety education to communities in East County. They have a few recommendations for anyone headed out to enjoy a natural waterway:

  • Avoid risky waters, such as rapids, waterfalls and rocks.
  • Never swim alone
  • Learn to swim
  • Children, and adults who are nonswimmers, should wear a life jacket in and around water.
  • Be aware of cold shock. When your body hits cold water, it can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The sudden gasp and rapid breathing creates a greater risk of drowning.
  • Assign a responsible adult to supervise children around water at all times!
  • Don’t drink or use drugs in or around the water
  • Learn CPR

In an emergency

  • Do not go in after someone unless you are trained in water rescue.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately!
  • Throw a life ring, buoy, or other floating object to the victim while you are waiting for first responders.  
  • Coach the victim, guiding them to calm, to float, to move toward shallow water.

Life jackets & swim lessons