25 Jun 2014 02:44:30 MDT Written by: Administrator

9 Tips for Better Water Safety

Swimming and other water activities are terrific exercise. But whenever you and your family are around water, it's important to observe safety precautions.

Swimming Outdoors

Drowning is one of the most common accidents for young children. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) says about 300 children drown in home swimming pools every year. Another 2,000 kids end up in the emergency room from near drownings. And according to CPSC, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under five in California, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

That's why parental supervision is essential whenever preschoolers are near water. If you own a pool, it should be securely fenced. Even if your own children are older, precautions are needed to protect other children in the neighborhood. Make sure there's a phone nearby the pool, along with basic lifesaving equipment, in the event of an emergency.

Here are some other tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Whenever young children are swimming, playing or bathing in water, make sure an adult is constantly watching them. That means watching, not reading, talking on the phone or anything else.
  • Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Teach children always to swim with a buddy.
  • Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming, boating or water skiing.
  • Learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). This is particularly important for pool owners and boaters.
  • Do NOT use air-filled swimming aids (such as "water wings") in place of life jackets or life preservers with children. These can give parents and children a false sense of security and increase the risk of drowning.

As children get older, the American Red Cross says the best thing anyone can do to stay safe around water is to learn to swim. Swimming classes for children should include instruction in water safety, with emphasis on safety measures such as these:

  • avoid swimming in deep water when tired
  • stay in designated swimming areas, preferably within sight of a lifeguard
  • always check water conditions before entering water
  • always check water depth before jumping or diving; swimmers are injured every year, some critically, by diving head first into water that is too shallow

Life preservers are essential when boating, especially for less experienced swimmers. It's also important to warn children against swimming or playing in ditches after rainstorms; water currents in such situations can be very unpredictable.

What to do

If the worst happens and someone needs help, there are ways to safely help them. If they are struggling in the water, the best thing to do is extend a pole or toss a rope with a floating device, such as a buoy, life-ring or a life jacket attached to it. Use that to pull them to safety. If you do not have training in rescue techniques, it can be very dangerous for you and the victim for you to enter the water. Be very careful. Get help as soon as possible. Have someone dial 911 right away.

If the person has stopped breathing, experts say you should begin what is called rescue breathing. This involves blowing air into the person's mouth to fill their lungs. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training can be crucial for helping a drowning victim. When moving a drowning or near drowning victim it is important to be careful. Many drowning victims also have spinal or neck injuries. If you must move them, try to keep their head and back as still as possible. If the victim revives, keep them as still as possible until help arrives.

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