Summer is not over yet; make water safety a priority

Warm weather means lots of things, including more time spent outdoors doing fun activities that involve water.

But whether you’re taking a dip in a pool, heading to a lake or river for a boat ride, or spending your vacation at the beach, there’s a serious side to water that deserves a great deal of respect, health experts advise.

“It’s important to make sure the body of water matches your skill level,” said Shannon Handler, FNP-C, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner for Aspirus. “Swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river where more strength is needed to handle currents and potential undertows.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day and that does not include boating incidents. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger.

To help keep your family safe while still enjoying the last weeks of summer, Handler recommends the following tips:

— Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.

— Never leave children alone near water. If you have to leave, take your child with you.

— Keep children away from pool drains and suction fittings.

— Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

— Use the buddy system.

— Unless you’re in a pool with a safe diving area, do not enter water headfirst.

— Never swim under the influence.

— When boating, make sure everyone wears a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

— Avoid pushing or jumping on others when near or in water.

— When in unfamiliar waters, do not dive. Watch for underwater hazards like rocks and debris.

— Consider becoming trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

“Like many medical emergencies, seconds count,” Handler said. “Having someone with you who is CPR trained can make a difference and help save a life.”


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