How to protect the whole family on the water

While many families rush to enjoy the outdoors as soon as the weather gets warmer, it's important to take a moment and review safety procedures – especially around water.

Whether you're going to a pool party, the beach or boating at the cottage, gather the family — even your pet — and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe around water.

Never leave a child or pet unattended. If you're going for a swim, always make sure there is supervision or that you're swimming with a buddy. Some family members may not be the strongest swimmers and can fatigue more easily.

The same goes for your four-legged friends — not all dog breeds are suited for water. Breeds with short snouts like pugs are better off on dry land. Even if you think you're a strong swimmer or have a water-loving dog breed, they should never be left unattended. To add an extra measure of safety, consider a lifejacket for yourself and your canine.

If you have a pool, place a barrier around the perimeter. Children and pets can easily fall into the water when you are not looking.

Practice water safety. Learning safety skills is key. Take swimming lessons and make sure you know where to exit or where the nearest resting place, like a floating dock, may be located. For dogs, PetSmart suggests that you practice exiting the water together until your dog understands how to get out if they accidently fall in. Hold your pet and guide them as they doggy paddle to the stairs of your pool or to shore.

Learn CPR. Knowing and getting CPR certified can save lives. While many people may automatically resort to CPR after someone has drowned, administrating it without training may cause even more injuries. Sign up for courses and learn CPR for both humans and pets.