Swim Smart this Summer with a Few Safety Tips
Summer is in full swing, and nothing brings refreshment like a swim. Pools and beaches are plentiful in Southern California, and it’s important to remember water safety as you or your loved ones take the plunge. Recent statistics from Red Cross show that many Americans lack basic water safety skills: 63 percent of families with children will swim in a body of water without a lifeguard present, while nearly half of adults polled say they’ve had a near-drowning experience. It is easier to drown than you might think, even for expert swimmers. Here are a few tips about water safety from the American Red Cross to keep in mind and to share with your loved ones:
- Always use the buddy system whenever you swim. Never swim alone, and this includes pools, spas and the ocean. You never know when you might need assistance, and having someone with you to help or call for assistance could save your life.
- Only swim in designated swim areas, preferably with a lifeguard on duty.
- Teach your children how to swim early. Make sure everyone in your family can swim well by enrolling in age-appropriate swim classes. Check your local YMCA, Parks and Recreation Department or private swim schools for classes.
- Never leave a child near water without supervision. Teach your children to ask permission before approaching water, and don’t trust a child’s life to another child.
- Be vigilant in watching your children around any body of water, including the bathtub. Don’t be distracted by your phone or by conversation.
- If a child is missing, always check the water first. Seconds are crucial in guarding against drowning. Always install safety fences and gates around backyard pools.
- Know how and when to dial 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. If you see a swimmer in distress, shout for help, reach or throw a floatation device to the person and tell them to hold onto it. Dial 9-1-1 if necessary.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of ‘dry drowning.’ “In the case of ‘dry drowning,’ your child may be struggling to breathe because he or she has swallowed water,” explains Anita Sinha MD, PIH Health pediatrician.
“If your child has labored breathing within 24 hours of being exposed to water and is lethargic or tired, call your pediatrician. Your child’s lungs may be compromised because of inhaled water, and there isn’t enough oxygen getting to his or her brain.”
Swimming is a fun way to exercise and spend time with friends and family. Keep it that way by putting safety first. To learn more about swim safety classes and training near you, visit https://www.redcross.org/.