Water Safety Tips to Prevent Drownings
Summer is almost here, and with it come long, hot, sunny days perfect for swimming in pools, lakes, and rivers.
The truth is that swimming is a great activity. Not only is it fun; it also provides a bunch of physical and mental benefits. However, drowning is a real danger, even for expert swimmers.
Perhaps that is why the month of May has been designated as Water Safety Month. This month we aim to raise awareness of the dangers of accidental drownings and how to prevent them.
How Big is The Problem?
What are the risks of not following proper water safety? Statistics according to the CDC:
- Ten people die every day from unintentional drowning
- An additional 332 people die each year from drowning in boating-related incidents
- Drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental injury death in the United States
- 1 in 5 drowning deaths is a child under the age of 14
- For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency room care for nonfatal submersion injuries
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
What Can You Do to Prevent Drownings?
Although not all drownings result in death, nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as:
- Memory problems
- Learning disabilities
- Permanent loss of basic functioning (permanent vegetative state)
So, learning how you can prevent accidental drowning injuries is essential.
Water Safety Tips
Learn to Swim
Although strong swimmers can also suffer drowning injuries knowing how to swim can reduce the risk of drowning in all age groups.
In a drowning situation, every second counts.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions with artificial ventilation. It is used to manually preserve brain function.
CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims. The more quickly CPR is started, the better.
Real life drowning accidents don’t resemble those we see on TV or movies. Most victims don’t scream or thrash in the water.
Instead, victims tend to appear lethargic and are often found unresponsive floating in the water or submerged beneath it.
Therefore, a responsible adult who knows how to swim should always be available to supervise kids who are in or around water.
You can take turns to give the supervisor a break so they can also enjoy the party but be careful never to leave kids unsupervised.
Don’t Swim Alone
It’s never a good idea to swim alone. If you get in trouble, having a buddy close by could save your life. Also, whenever possible, choose swimming sports that have lifeguards.
Whenever you go boating or tubbing, remember to wear a lifejacket. Research shows that half of all boating deaths are preventable with the use of life jackets.
Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings” or “noodles” instead of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
Always have a cell phone, first aid kit, throwing or reaching floating devices near your pool. Remember to add the phone number of your nearest Altus Emergency Center to your contact list.
When to Go to the ER
All drowning victims need emergency care, so bring them to the nearest Altus Emergency Center as soon as possible.
Even though most drowning victims are revived with first aid, they still need to be evaluated by an emergency medical doctor.
Complications of the drowning event may take time to develop; it may be hours before signs and symptoms to develop.
As we get ready to enjoy our long summer days, Altus Emergency Centers would like to remind you always put safety first. And if an accident were to occur, we will be here to nurse you and your loved one back to health.
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