Safety Tip Of The Month - Water Safety Tips
Contributed by Tim Ryan
Pools, lakes, ponds, and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from hot weather. But water also can be dangerous if you don't take the proper precautions. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24.
The good news is there are many ways to keep safe in and around the water. These are general water safety tips whenever swimming or enjoying any body of water (pools, lakes, ponds, quarries, rivers or oceans and beaches)
Water Safety Tips
- Never swim alone. Always use the “buddy system”
- Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
- If you see someone in danger, reach or throw a floatable object, don't try to swim and rescue them unless you are a certified lifeguard.
- Swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
- Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Be mindful of the "dangerous too's" - too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
- Set water safety rules for your family (for example, never enter the water without approval from your parents).
- Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions and where the entry and exit points are located.
- Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies (Error on the side of safety)
- Never dive, use a feet first entry when entering the water.
- Do not mix alcohol with swimming or boating. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, affects your swimming and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
- Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. A reaching pole, rope and floatation devices, such as ring buoys, rescue tubes and life jackets, are recommended.
- A well-stocked first aid kit should also be available. Store the safety gear in a consistent, easily accessed location. A "safety post" may be used.
- Post all emergency phone numbers.
- Adults should be trained in CPR and first aid.
Watching Children Around Water
- Watch children around any body of water (such as bathtubs, pools, beaches, rivers, lakes, toilets, and buckets of water) and never leave them alone no matter the how well your child can swim and how shallow the water.
- Stay within an arm's reach while your child is in the water.
- Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children.
- Do not rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision or lifeguards. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
- Prevent access to water features, such as small ponds and waterfalls.
- Empty portable pools immediately after use. Do not leave water in an unattended portable pool.
- Enroll children in a Learn-to-swim course. Not only will they learn some swimming skills, they will also learn water safety tips.