Just like having a barbecue or watching fireworks on the 4th of July, taking a cool dip in the pool is a summer tradition. It’s easy to throw caution to the wind and take a plunge, but do you know what to do to avoid a disaster in the water? What about keeping your family safe?
Water safety isn’t necessarily something we think about often, especially since we’re only in the water for a few months out of the year. However, knowing what to do in and around the water can make the difference between life and death. As soon as summer arrives, you should be thinking about water safety for yourself and your loved ones.
Keep reading to learn about the importance of water safety tips and find some tips for kids and adults to stay safe.
Why is water safety so important?
Many of us assume that once we’re able to swim, water safety becomes a thing of the past. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Before you turn away from learning any water safety tips, consider these facts:
- Drowning is a public health crisis. Making up the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, drowning affects people of all classes, races and ages across the globe. While you may not hear about a drowning death every day, it is still a major issue of concern.
- You can drown anywhere. A small pool could cause just as many drowning deaths as an ocean if it was used improperly. The size of the body of water doesn’t matter — it’s about how much water you aspirate. Babies and small children may drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it doesn’t take much more for an adult to drown either.
- Nonfatal drowning still has consequences. Even if drowning does not cause death, it is still capable of causing permanent and lasting damage to your body. Going without oxygen for a prolonged period of time causes brain damage, leading to issues like learning disabilities or memory problems.
Water safety for children
The primary way to help your child stay safe around water is to teach them to swim. Being unable to swim can mean a disaster if your child accidentally falls into the water or goes into a deeper area of a pool than intended. Older children and adults should also consider swim lessons if they are unable to swim to prevent drowning accidents.
When a child is near water of any kind, they should be constantly supervised. This is basic water safety for children. In the time it takes you to turn your head, your child could be running to a pool or falling in the bathtub. Make clear rules about when he or she is allowed to be near water and never let them run off alone. Employ the buddy system too and encourage your child to always be with someone while in the water in case an accident were to occur.
In most cases, a child should have a lifejacket on. Though not the most comfortable item to wear, they can save the life of someone who would have normally drowned. Every life jacket should be Coast Guard certified for optimal safety in an emergency. In case a child does go underwater, keep a safety ring nearby for them to grab.
Water safety for adults
It’s important to keep water safety for adults in mind as well, though some of the rules may be slightly different. For instance, adults should take special caution to avoid drinking alcohol while being in or near the water. Not only is your balance affected, it can delay your respiration and make it harder to resuscitate you. If you’re drinking, it’s best to stay away from the water entirely.
You may consider learning CPR too. In the event that someone has no pulse after going under, you can help keep their heart pumping until medical services arrive. Those few short minutes can make the difference between suffering brain damage or surviving. Find a class near you or, if your workplace is OSHA compliant, ask if classes are available at work.
Have you suffered an injury in the water due to the fault of another?