Serving the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire of Georgia and South Carolina.
Monday, May 22, 2023
Warmer weather is approaching, which means many families will be enjoying more time in and near the water. Whether you’ll be swimming in your pool at home, going boating, or hitting the beach, here are some ways to practice water safety for the whole family.
Swim classes and other water survival courses have been shown to reduce drowning in young children. Most children are ready for swim lessons by the age of four. But even children as young as one year old could benefit from infant swim rescue courses, which teach children to float, rest, and breathe should they fall in the water.
If you have a pool at home, implement tools so young children can’t access it by themselves. Use physical barriers, such as gates and locks that are too high for them to reach, as well as pool alarms. Encourage family members to put these measures in place if your children will be spending time in their home pools, too.
Any time children are in the water, make sure there’s at least one adult watching them at all times. Incidents can happen when there are many adults present because everyone assumes someone else is watching. Consider having a “designated pool watcher” paddle or another handheld item that can be passed around.
Lifeguards also rescue more than 100,000 people from drowning each year. Not only do they serve as an extra set of eyes, but they’re also trained in rescue techniques. Choose to swim at public pools, lakes, and beaches that have a lifeguard on duty.
Even the most experienced swimmers can encounter unforeseen issues in the water. No one should ever swim alone, especially not in open waters — including adults.
Diving in shallow pools and lakes can cause serious injuries, including concussion, paralysis, and even death. Wading into the water will always be safest, but if you or your children do decide to jump in, make sure it’s always feet first.
Across the ocean shores, many beaches have flags posted to indicate swimming conditions and hazards. Green represents low hazards and calm conditions, while yellow represents light surf and medium hazards. Avoid swimming when the flag is red, as this means there are strong currents that pose risks for even the most skilled swimmers.
Life vests are essential for people of all ages who participate in water sports. Whether it’s on a small lake or in deeper ocean waters, unexpected hazards can appear out of nowhere. Having a life vest on can help you stay afloat if an accident occurs.
Educate all family members on what to do in the event of a water-related emergency. Parents and other caregivers should consider CPR training, while children should know where to locate pool steps and ladders to get out quickly. Everyone should also understand what to do if someone else needs assistance in the water, such as providing a life ring and calling for help.
SouthCoast Health is dedicated to keeping your family healthy through the summer season and beyond. Whether you’re due for a checkup or have a new health matter you’d like evaluated, schedule an appointment with one of our providers online or call us directly at 912-691-3600.