By Dr. Manpreet Grewal
Throughout summer, families flock to pools, the beach, lakes, and rivers to cool off. Remember to keep yourself and your loved ones safe around the water.
Do not swim alone, and choose locations where a lifeguard is on duty. In addition to watching the people in the water, lifeguards are trained to watch the water and help swimmers avoid any safety issues or conditions. They are also trained to respond quickly when something happens.
Don’t rely on toys like water wings, noodles, or inner tubes to keep children safe. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard-certified life jacket when they are around water.
Never leave children unsupervised near a body of water. In a large group, make sure at least one adult is the designated watcher and isn’t distracted.
Make sure your children learn how to swim. Swimming lessons can begin as early as one year old, depending on the child’s physical and emotional development. However, swimming lessons do not prevent drowning, and are not a substitute for diligent adult supervision. Vital swimming skills include:
- Swimming in water that is over your head, then returning to the surface.
- Floating or treading water for at least one minute.
- Turning over and turning around in the water.
- Swimming at least 25 yards.
- Exiting the water.
Practice “reach, throw, don’t go” if a friend is in trouble in the water. Use a long object to pull the person to safety. This prevents the distressed swimmer from overpowering the friend trying to rescue them.