Get into summer swim with safety in mind
June 13, 2014
It's enjoyable to spend an afternoon at the lake or poolside, especially in the desert heat. According to the Red Cross, swimming is the most popular summer activity. Safely enjoy the pool, tubing down the river, boating on the lake or other water activity.
Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards and always use the buddy system, even in public pools. Ensure children are always actively supervised by undistracted adults. Leave the kindle or phone in the beach bag.
Ensure all Family members learn to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
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.
Establish rules for the Family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person's ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests. Children should be within arm's reach of a strong swimmer and actively supervised.
Set and enforce rules about water safety in natural bodies of water, too, such as always entering unknown or shallow water slowly, feet first, diving only in designated areas marked for diving, and being careful of currents as they can knock one off balance.
Be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes even if not swimming. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
If you go boating, wear a life jacket. Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
Avoid alcohol use. It impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body's ability to stay warm.
Make smart choices and be aware of your surroundings. Always remember to check local weather conditions and forecasts. Leave the water at the first sign of thunder and lightning. In the event of an electrical storm, stay inside an enclosed area for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
If someone is in trouble in the water, reach out to the person using any available object that will extend your reach, such as a pole, an oar, a towel, or tree branch. Brace yourself to keep from losing your balance while assisting them to safety. In most cases, only trained professionals should enter the water to perform a rescue.