Ten Important Water Safety Tips
Summer brings carefree days filled with outdoor activities.
When it comes to swimming and spending time around water, it’s important for people of all ages to make safety a priority.
The following water safety tips can help you and your family be trauma-free:
- Use the Water Watcher card strategy to designate people as ‘water watchers’ when children are swimming. Each person holds the card for a designated amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) during which they do nothing but watch the children who are in the water, like a lifeguard. This system is designed to prevent lapses in supervision and give other adults a chance to talk, read, make phone calls or take bathroom breaks.
- Always keep your eyes on your child and never leave while your child is swimming, even for a few minutes. If you must leave, take your child with you.
- Never underestimate the power of water. Even rivers and lakes can have undertows. If you experience an undertow do not swim against it. Stay calm and float with it until you feel it is no longer pulling you, or swim parallel to the shore until you swim out of it.
- When swimming in a lake, all swimmers (even strong ones) should wear a life jacket in murky water.
- Children under 12 should never be on, or near, a large body of water without wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Floaties and water-wings are only designed to be teaching aids while a child learns to swim and should never be used without close adult supervision.
- The younger the child, the greater the risk. Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children – if a child is missing, look in the nearest water first.
- Never dive into unfamiliar waters, and never dive into water that is not at least 12 feet deep.
- NEVER be afraid to admit you cannot swim, and don’t go into the water just to save face. Swimming is an important life skill, and swim lessons are available for all ages.
- Drinking alcohol and swimming are a bad combination. Alcohol is involved in almost half of all male teen drownings.
- If you have small children, consider putting slide locks out of your child’s reach on your doors that have outside access. Many tragic drownings have occurred when a neighbor’s small child has found their way to their own pool, or the pool next door, while everyone else was sleeping.
Water activities can provide good times, fun recreation, and happy memories that last a lifetime. The trauma team at Spartanburg Medical Center is here if you need us, but we hope you will remember these water safety tips so you and your family can be trauma-free this summer.