Now that summer is here, it’s time for trips to the beach and afternoons spent outside by the pool. There’s nothing like getting away for a warm and sunny vacation this time of year, but it’s important to stay safe and practice proper water safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you hit the waves or jump in the pool.
Monday - Water Safety
Summer is here, we focus a lot of our activities on the water. However, each year we still have avoidable and tragic fatalities from drowning.
Many Common Drowning Factors:
- Young children ages 1-4 and men ages 15-44 are the highest risk of drowning.
- Drowning is the leading cause of death in children.
- A small child can disappear in a matter of seconds and drown in only a couple of inches of water. All that needs to be covered are the child’s mouth and nose.
- Small children are the most vulnerable but with every death due to drowning there is 4-5 more incidents that led to injury that required hospitalization and suffered brain damage.
- Infants and toddlers drown in bathtubs and backyard pools, older children usually drown in large bodies of water especially lakes.
- Adults usually drown from being swept under a current or alcohol related factors.
A good practice - no matter how old you are - is to enroll into a learn-to-swim program. Teach children water safety rules and keep them safe.
Tuesday - Boating Safety
Driving a boat is not the same as driving a car or truck. If there is an emergency or the engine breaks down, you can’t just walk to the nearest gas station or call for help (you may not have cell phone service in an open ocean or a large lake). You will have to signal other boats or people on shore. Items you should always have on your boat to be prepared for engine trouble:
- Flotation device or a life jacket for everyone
- Buoyant heaving line at least 15 meters in length
- Waterproof flashlight or flares
- An air horn
- A paddle and a rope or cable 15 meters long
- A pail or water pump
- Class 5 BC fire extinguisher
You are more exposed to the weather on a boat than in a car or truck. Other items that would be recommended are:
- A marine first aid kit
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
- Drinking water
- Dry clothing
- Water proof matches
Wednesday – Pool Safety
Each year, millions of people escape the summer heat by swimming and relaxing in their backyard pool. Unfortunately, many people often disregard useful swimming pool safety tips, which could prevent hundreds of injuries and drowning accidents. Check out these tips on enjoying the pool safely all summer long:
- Secure your pool with appropriate barriers that are at least 4-feet tall and include a self-latching gate. For added safety, install a pool alarm that triggers each time the gate opens.
- Children should always be under active supervision. Always stay close to children when in or around a swimming pool.
- Ensure all family members know how to swim and understand proper swimming pool safety.
- Keep your swimming pool or hot tub clean by maintaining appropriate chemical levels, circulation, and filtration.
- Establish pool safety rules and enforce them. Rules like no diving, no running, and swim with a buddy are important rules to establish.
- Practice pool emergencies and how to handle them with CPR and other aquatic safety courses.
Thursday – Save Your Skin
Our skin is our protector. It keeps our body safe from infection, injury and dangerous heat and cold. Yet our skin is not exempt from needing its own protection, most importantly from the sun.
Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, partially because we all encounter the sun on a daily basis. There are various types of skin cancer, some less threatening than others. But each year there’s an increase in the worst result of sun exposure—melanoma. In the last 40 years, cases of melanoma have increased 250%.
By taking steps to protect your skin before you go outside, you can lessen your chance of developing skin cancer. One of the top preventive measures is adding sun protection to your daily routine. Every morning apply about 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body. Using a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 15 or higher is the best option for normal sun exposure. If you are spending extended time outside, reapply every two hours.
Other preventative methods include:
- Seek shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
- Avoid sunburn. Reapply sunscreen immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Cover up with clothing, including a hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Many brands sell UV protective clothing to increase protection.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should always be used on babies over the age of six months.
Friday – Drowning Prevention
- The absence of an adult is the leading cause in child drowning.
- Even if the child can swim no matter where you are, make sure to watch them.
- Always have non-swimmers wear life jackets.
- Make sure the pool area is fenced in with a gate that latches and self-closing.
- For toddler and smaller splash pools empty after each use - never leave water standing.
- Never dive into water headfirst unless you have been trained or know that for sure the water is deep enough.
- Home pools are usually never deep enough to dive and should always be entered feet first.
- Be cautious about swimming in a current, make sure you are trained and know what to do if you get swept away.
- When swimming in rivers and you are a weak swimmer the current can pull you under.
Always have a life jacket or Personal Floatation Device on all non-swimmers, or if you don’t feel confident in the water to being able to pull yourself out.
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