When traveling to the beach, river, stream or pool, it is imperative to remember safety at all times. Drowning is the number two cause of accidental deaths for people under 44 years of age and 13% of all drowning victims are 4 years of age or younger, so it’s important to keep your kids under supervision. Some safety tips for the water are as follows:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Maintain constant supervision.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
- Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
If at any point, there is a person struggling to swim and may need a rescue, and there aren’t any lifeguards around to help, DO NOT go and try to save them without training. Many times, an inexperienced onlooker will end up drowning as well if they do not know how to perform a rescue. Some signs of drowning include struggling, floating just under the water, submerged head, floating without movement, submersion without movement and screaming or silence.
If you are ever put in a situation where you may need to rescue a swimmer, and are an inexperienced civilian, your course of action is as follows:
- Call 911.
- Get help.
- If there is no help available, throw an object out for the struggling swimmer to grab onto and float, do not go in the water.
- Once the victim is out of the water, check for breathing, and if there is none, check for pulse.
- If there is no pulse, start CPR.
To have fun in the sun, you have to take safety into consideration. Have fun and stay safe!