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Water Safety Tips for Families

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.

Enroll children in swim lessons.

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.

Use pool barriers.

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.

Always include supervision.

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.

Never swim alone.

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.

Jump in feet-first.

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.

Be mindful of conditions.

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.

Wear life vests.

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.

Know what to do in an emergency.

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.

Whether you are looking for a primary care doctor or a pediatrician, or another medical specialist, SouthCoast Health has you covered with its wide range of world-class healthcare services, available throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. Founded in 1996, SouthCoast Health has 120 physicians and medical professionals in 17 locations in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler, Rincon, Baxley, Hilton Head, Hinesville, and Statesboro. SouthCoast Health offers comprehensive medical services including: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Allergy and Asthma, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Eye Care, Imaging, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Sleep Medicine, Surgery, Clinical Trial Research Studies, Diabetic Self-Management Training Sessions, Dietetic Counseling, Laboratory Services, Massage Therapy, Optical Shop, Pharmacy, and Urgent Care.

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