Splish Splash Water Safety
Jul 27, 2017
It’s mid-summer, and temperatures are rising. You may find yourself visiting the beach or relaxing in a backyard pool. However, before indulging in the fun water brings, it’s best to know how to keep yourself, your family, and friends safe.
Practicing water safety should not be limited to beaches and pools. It’s important to practice water safety around all bodies of water, even areas with shallow water such as full sinks, tubs, or buckets, especially if small children are around. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. Also, children, ages one to four, have the highest drowning rate.
To prevent water injuries and drowning incidents, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Take swimming lessons and always know your limits in water, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- Learn CPR and keep a phone close in case of an emergency.
- Always supervise children around any body of water. If you must leave, take them with you.
- If possible, remove water from sinks, pools, tubs, etc., immediately after use.
- Keep doors/gates closed around bodies of water.
- Never mix swimming and alcohol.
- Never swim alone, and always let someone know if you’re going swimming.
- Do not dive into unknown bodies of water.
- Before going under water, do not hyperventilate. Hyperventilating is breathing very quickly and deeply.
It’s best to know the signs of drowning because they aren’t always so obvious. You may think of drowning as someone waving their arms while calling for help, but many times it’s the exact opposite.
When someone is drowning, they cannot speak. In most cases, the person will be quietly gasping for air in an attempt to breathe, while their mouth may be bobbing in and out of the water. Waving would not be possible. A drowning person would use their arms to push down on the water to keep their head from submerging.
You may also notice the person is vertical with their head tilted back. Chances are, a drowning person won’t look like they’re in need of help at all. If you notice these signs, you should call out to the person. If you don’t get a response, rescue the person from the water, call 9-1-1, and begin CPR until help arrives.
“If someone has a near drowning experience, and a progressive cough over the next hour, they should still seek medical care immediately,” says Robert Nolan, DO
. “You should also watch for faster breathing, pain, fatigue, or nausea.”