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Cool off, but be smart around the water

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other opinions Detroit Lakes, 56501
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The numbers from the Minnesota Climatology Working Group prove it. With average daily temperature highs of 82 and 79 respectively, July and August are Central Minnesota's hottest months.

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Unfortunately, some numbers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources show these months also can be the deadliest for drownings.

Of the 99 non-boating drownings statewide from Jan. 1, 2007, through Friday, 42 have occurred in these two months. In fact, this month is particularly tragic.

But don't think the danger is found only in rivers and lakes at this time of year. State DNR reports since 2007 show that pools and even hot tubs can be deadly for people unaware of their water-based surroundings.

With that in mind and expecting that our hottest days are likely yet to come, we pass along some safety reminders from the DNR.

About the water

Use a designated swimming area staffed with lifeguards, if possible.

Know the water in which you are about to swim. Don't dive without checking depths and currents.

Beware of neighborhood pools -- your own or your neighbors'. Empty kiddie pools immediately after use.

About you, the kids

Take swimming lessons from certified instructors and swim with a buddy, even if you are an adult.

Know your physical limitations, and don't attempt to swim distances of more than a few hundred feet unless you are in good physical condition.

Be near children anytime they are near the water. Remember, the 1-foot wave that splashes your knees can easily knock down a 2-foot-tall toddler.

Don't rely on water toys to keep people -- especially children -- afloat.

Don't swim from a boat or raft anchored in deep water without a life vest.

If there's a problem

Know what a drowning looks like. Often, a person struggling to stay afloat will appear to be looking upward and bobbing, with no obvious signs or sounds of needing help.

Know how to rescue a drowning person without putting yourself at risk. Throw a floating object or extend something you can release if they start to pull you into danger. Only attempt a swimming rescue if you are properly trained.

Call 911 in an emergency.

Insist that anyone who was submerged and then recovered still seeks medical attention. Even a small amount of inhaled impure water can cause illness and even death.

For information, contact the DNR at 651-296-657, 800-MINNDNR or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us. -- St. Cloud Times

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