Safe summer fun
There’s nothing quite like a cool dip in the pool, a serene early morning paddle on the lake, or day of fishing with friends. Summer and water just go together.
Make sure you and your family members stay safe on lakes and rivers and in backyard pools this season by following some simple precautions as suggested by Health Canada:
- Always supervise children near bodies of water, rivers and pools, and be within arm’s reach when children are playing in or around water.
- Ensure that children are wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or a life jacket when swimming, boating or playing near the water. Be a role model and wear a PFD or life jacket too.
- Choose a safe place to swim, like a supervised waterfront or beach, and check for hazards before wading in—including any posted information on water pollution levels.
- Enroll children in swimming and water safety lessons. If you can’t swim, take lessons too! Check your local community pool’s schedule for classes.
- Take a course on pool safety, first aid and lifesaving skills (such as CPR). St. John Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross, American Red Cross, and British Red Cross all offer lifesaving courses.
- Do not drink alcohol when participating in water activities, especially when driving a boat. Alcohol slows your reaction time and impairs judgment.
- Build a fence with a gate around backyard pools and keep the gate locked at all times to make it difficult for anyone to enter without your permission. Check your local municipality for rules and regulations regarding fencing around pools.
- Keep life saving equipment and a first aid kit near your pool.
It’s also important to know that drowning doesn’t look the way it does in the movies. According to a Reader’s Digest article, someone who is drowning is actually eerily quiet, not flailing, splashing and calling for help.
- A drowning person can’t call for help—they are trying to breathe and can’t breathe and speak at the same time. A drowning person’s mouth repeatedly sinks below the water’s surface, so there isn’t time to breathe and call for help.
- Don’t look for waving arms. A drowning person will instinctively extend their arms to the sides and press down in an effort to lift his or her mouth above the water line. Children may extend their arms forward. It is impossible to reach for rescue equipment or swim towards help.
- There is no evidence of kicking when someone is drowning. The person will remain upright in the water with their mouth at water level. Their head may be tilted back with mouth open. A child’s head may fall forward.
- If you’re not sure if someone is okay, call out and ask. If they can respond, they are probably okay. If they can’t—if your query is met with a blank stare, closed eyes and silence—you may have less than 30 seconds to reach him or her. Children are especially noisy when they play in the water. If you hear silence, get to them immediately and find out why it’s so quiet.
Summer is a glorious season filled with lots of family fun time. Make sure it’s safe by being careful around the water.
For more information on what drowning looks like, visit Medical News Today.
409681 CAN/US (04/15)