Spending time in and around water is a favourite pastime for adults and children. Swimming, boating, running through sprinklers, and soaking in a nice warm tub can be great ways to relax and have fun.

Even though water play can be exciting, it also can be dangerous. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. Calm rivers can hide swift currents, rocks and tree branches. Ocean rip tides and rough waves can confound even excellent swimmers. Lake waters can be extremely cold, even in summer, making it challenging for a person to stay afloat and avoid hypothermia.

It is essential for everyone to play it safe when in and around water. Here are nine ways to do just that.

1. Avoid swimming or boating in high running water, making sure to always check conditions before starting.

2. Never dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water.

3. Obey barriers, such as markings for deeper ends in pools, fencing around pools and ropes in open

waters. Barriers help reduce the risk of drowning considerably.

4. Life jackets should be worn by swimmers of all ages, especially during water sports like boating and jet skiing.

5. The Red Cross says strong swimming skills can significantly reduce the risk of drowning. Most children age four and older can learn to swim. Enroll in a family swim class to brush up on skills.

6. Have eyes on children at all times when they are in or around the water – both inside the home and outdoors. Employ “touch supervision,” which means always remaining in arm’s reach of the child.

7. Do not mix alcohol and water recreation. Remain sober when boating, swimming or supervising children who are swimming.

9. Drains in pools and spas can be deadly. Keep children away from drains, as body parts and hair can become trapped by the strong suction.

Water safety is a priority all year long, but gets even more attention every summer. A few simple safety measures can prevent many drownings.