NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – As the summer approaches and families return to the pools and beaches, Nassau County officials are advising families to take precautions.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

It’s time to start paying attention to water safety, Nassau County executive Ed Mangano said, especially on Long Island where drowning rates are higher than the national average.

“Drownings occurred here 14 times last year,” Mangano said. “And we believe awareness is the way to go here.”

Mangano said that everyone should stay away from the water off of the beaches unless there is a lifeguard present and for parents to never let their children out of their sights while in the ocean or swimming pools.

“We have great lifeguards and we do all that we can to make certain our waterways, our oceans and swimming pools are safe, but we need you to understand and advise your children about the dangers of going into a pool without a lifeguard or a beach without a lifeguard,” he said.

Drowning accounts for 26 percent of the deaths of children ages 1 to 4 years old in the U.S., county officials said.

In 2010, one of the 14 drowning deaths on Long Island was a 12-year-old girl on a class trip to the beach.

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