Whether taking a dip in a pool or the ocean, adults and kids alike should play it safe.
Swimming is a great activity. Not only are there lots of physical benefits, it’s also something the whole family can enjoy. But like a lot of things in life, it also comes with risk.
Drowning — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years, and the fifth leading cause for people of all ages. So water safety should be a concern no matter where you and your family swim.
General water safety
- Enroll children in swimming lessons at an early age.
- Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
- Use only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Do not use any sort of air-filled or foam toys.
- Children should always be supervised. Ignore your phone - it can take five seconds for a child to be submerged and 25 seconds to drown.
- Swim with a buddy.
- Avoid alcohol. It impairs your judgment, balance, coordination and your body’s ability to stay warm.
- Don’t hyperventilate — breathing faster and/or deeper. This can cause them to pass out and drown.
- Enter the water feet-first. Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
- Test the water temperature before you get in.
- Have a phone handy. The ability to call 911 in an emergency could be a lifesaver.
- Secure with appropriate barriers. Consider safety alarms.
- If a child is missing, always check the pool first.
- Remove toys from the pool when it is not in use.
- Keep a safety kit handy.
- Stay away from pool drains.
- Follow posted safety rules.
Oceans, lakes and rivers
- Swim near lifeguards. Stay within designated swimming areas.
- Beware of rip currents.
- Don’t swim in polluted water.
- Know your limits.
Play it safe
- Stay close to land and swim within designated swimming areas.
- Walk into unknown water — never dive.
- Insist on wearing a life jacket if you or someone with you is a weak swimmer.
- Check the weather.
- Take a break if you begin to feel cold, tired or hungry.
Know how to respond - Be prepared to react quickly.
- Unconscious swimmer: If you can safely get the victim to land, do so quickly. Begin CPR and call 911.
- Hypothermia: Prevent further heat loss. Warm the victim up slowly and seek medical attention right away.
- Rip current: Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the riptide, then swim back to shore. If you get tired, float on your back and kick your feet.
Knowledge is key when it comes to water and pool safety. Educating children from a very young age, and keeping yourself informed, can lead to a lifetime of healthy, safe swimmers.
State Farm® Insurance Agent
Rebecca Stutts Hovater
501 S Montgomery Ave., Suite C, Sheffield