Water Safety 101

Summer is in full swing, so lakes and pools are full of people looking for relief from the heat. Playing in the water can be fun, but it can be dangerous too. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, where Oklahoma is ranked third in drowning deaths.

Most drowning incidents can be prevented with precautions. The United States Swim School Association (USSSA) has created guidelines that can you can follow if you find yourself involved in a drowning incident:

  1. Throw, Don’t Go – throwing a lifesaving device is safer than jumping in the water yourself.
  2. Call for Help – let others know around you what is happening before you take action.
  3. Approach from Behind – if you go into the water to help someone, approach them from behind. The person will not be as likely to grab onto you and pull you under the water.
  4. Wear a Life Jacket – if you are in an open body of water, it is best to wear a life jacket. The water conditions may be hazardous.
  5. Watch for Signs of Secondary Drowning – individuals involved in a near-drowning incident may still have water in their lungs. They need to be watched closely for breathing issues. If you notice difficulty in breathing, seek medical assistance immediately and call 911.

Prevention is the key, and safety measures include:

  1. Supervision – never leave children alone near a pool or body of water. Children 5 and under should be within arm’s length of an adult (preferably one that can swim).
  2. Fences/Gates – install a fence at least 4 feet high completely around a pool. Ensure the gates open from the outside with a self-close and self-latch at a height the children can’t reach.
  3. Swim lessons – enroll children over the age of 1 in some formal swimming instruction.
  4. Know CPR for adults and children.
  5. Stay out of the water during thunderstorms and other types of severe weather.

For a safe and fun summer for your kids, teach them these five easy rules:

  1. No running.
  2. No diving in the shallow end of the pool.
  3. No pushing people into the water.
  4. No pulling people under the water.
  5. No swimming without an adult present – ever.

Michelle Vannoy, APRN-CNP
Ryan Family Care

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