Although it’s a great way to exercise and stay cool during the hot summer weather, participating in water sports is not without risk. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 360,000 people drown each year. The good news is that most water-related fatalities and injuries can be prevented when safety steps are taken. These tips should help you #BeSafe this summer!
To keep your family and friends and pets safe this summer, observe the following summer water safety tips:
Pool and Spa Safety
- Don’t leave kids alone in or near a pool or spa – even for a moment. Close adult supervision is the most effective way to prevent children from drowning. In fact, experts recommend children under age 5 stay within one arm’s length from an adult who knows how to swim (*touch supervision). What’s more, adults who supervise should know Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
- If your yard features a pool, install a fence at least four feet high, around on all sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that young children and pets could use to climb, scoot under, or walk through.
- Make sure pool gates open out, away from the pool. Also, check self-close and self-latch gates to ensure children can’t reach the latch. Consider installing alarms on pool gates. Other viable pool safety options include surface wave and underwater alarms, which trigger when motion breaks the beam.
- Hang rescue equipment near the water source. For example, purchase a plastic or fiberglass shepherd’s hook that won’t conduct electricity. I would like to buy a shepherd’s hook to wrangle a few cats I know. Also, keep a life preserver within easy access and stow your cellphone by the pool.
- Avoid the temptation to let kids use inflatable swimming aids—AKA floaties or water wings. These are not suitable substitutes for approved life jackets. Moreover, they can give children and parents a false sense of security.
- If a child goes missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
- Suction from pool and spa drains can trap swimmers underwater. Never use a pool or spa if drain covers are missing. To reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries and entrapments, the S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)developed a public education campaign, called Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives.
- Purchase properly-fitting life-jackets and use them any time children are on a boat, docks or near bodies of water.Don’t allow a child to wear the life jacket without strapping it into place.
- Invest in a life jacket for your dog. Although most of us can swim, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t use blow-up water wings, toys, rafts, air mattresses or “noodles” as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should set a good example for kids and protect themselves by wearing life jackets whenever they are near water.
- Alcohol and drugs and boating (or any water sport) don’t mix. Inform adolescents about the dangers of boating (even as a passenger) when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and some prescription medications.
Open Water Safety (Lakes, oceans, rivers)
- Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
- A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) should be appointed to pay attention to children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water. See reference to *touch supervision, above.
- Don’t allow your child to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
- Never let your child or dog swim in canals or any other fast-moving water.
- Allow ocean swimming only when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Teach children about rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.
- At the beach, stay within the designated swimming area and within the visibility of a lifeguard. And don’t forget to pack some bacon in the picnic basket.
- In case of a storm, get out of the water. In case of lightning, get off the beach.
How to Identify a Potential Drowning Victim
These signs may signal that someone is in danger of drowning:
- Head low in the water, mouth at water level
- Head tilted back with mouth open
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
- Eyes closed
- Hair over forehead or eyes
- Not using legs — vertical
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Trying to swim but not making headway
- Trying to roll over onto his or her back
- Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
What to Do in a Drowning Emergency:
- Get the person who is drowning out of the water immediately.
- Check to see if he is breathing on his own. If not, begin CPR.
- If someone else is present, send him or her to call for emergency medical help. But don’t spend precious moments looking for someone. And don’t waste time trying to drain water from the victim’s lungs.
- If you are alone with the victim, call 911.
- Concentrate on performing CPR until the person is breathing on his own. (Vomiting of swallowed water is very likely during CPR.)
- Don’t stop to seek help until the person resumes breathing.
- Once paramedics arrive, they will administer oxygen.
- Continue CPR, if necessary.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services System
No matter the type of emergency you may face this summer, take steps to make sure you are safe. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning program helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.