(NBC News) – Swimming and summer fun go hand-in-hand, but enjoying a dip can turn tragic quickly if you’re not careful.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.
Backyard swimming pools are the most common site.
“That’s where 75 percent of the children in the U.S. drown,” notes Dr. Peter Wernicki, chairman of the American Red Cross Aquatics Safety Committee.
He says even if you’re an avid swimmer, a life preserver should still be worn in many water activities.
Plus, pay particular attention to rip current warnings at the beach, and swim only where there’s a lifeguard.
“Statistics have shown that if you are at a USLA-guarded beach you have a one in 18 million chance of drowning with death, which are pretty good statistics in my book,” Dr. Wernicki says.