It's summertime and that means fun in the sun and cooling off in our area's beautiful rivers and lakes. After enduring months of rain and cold, of course the Washingtonian has a ravenous, pent-up need for sunshine! Please remember that our rivers are swift and very cold, no matter what the outside temperature.
Swimming can be a great way to have fun while getting full body exercise. However, each year between 4,000 and 6,000 people drown in the United States. It is the second leading cause of accidental deaths for persons 15 to 44 years old. Shockingly, it is believed that two-thirds of the people who drown are believed to never have had any intention of being in the water. Since tragic water accidents happen quickly, we have compiled the following information to help everyone have a safe and fun summer.
By keeping these few simple things in mind, you can make your experience in the water much safer.
*Learn to swim before you go into the water. Sounds silly, but many people think it will come naturally, and it really doesn’t.
*Swim near a lifeguard so help is available if you need it
*Never swim alone
*Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present
*Don't rely on flotation devices, such as rafts, you may lose them in the water
*Alcohol and swimming don't mix
*Protect your head, neck, and spine by jumping feet first into unfamiliar waters
*As soon as you believe that you may be in trouble, call or wave for help
*Follow regulations and lifeguard directions
*Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances
Swimming and playing near water are favorite summer time activities of children everywhere. Parents and guardians need to pay extra attention and make sure they protect little ones from the dangers that water presents. Here are some points to consider about water safety for children.
*Never leave a child alone near water. Accidents happen in seconds, so if you have to leave, take your child with you.
*Watch out for neighborhood pools. Whether it is your own or your neighbors, toys that are left around the pool can attract children to the water.
*If you have a pool, make sure you surround it by a fence that is tall enough that children cannot climb over, and with a gate that locks.
*Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. Lessons won't make your child "drown-proof," but they will increase their safety and prepare them for a lifetime of fun in the water.
*Teach your children to always swim with a buddy.
*Always have a first-aid kit and emergency phone contacts handy.
*Parents should be trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).