With over 7,400 swimming pools and 1,300 public beaches in New York, many people are starting to head to the water for the summer months. However, it’s important that we consider water safety while we’re having our fun in the sun. New York has been rated the fourth highest state for drownings with 1,189 incidents reported in 2009. Therefore, to kick off the start of the summer season, it is important that we take the time to review water safety guidelines to protect ourselves and our loved ones in the event of an emergency.
Always Swim with a Buddy
It is always a good idea to swim with a friend. Not only is it more fun, but there is also safety in numbers. No matter how confident or experienced people are, accidents can happen. When they do, having someone else around can help either by directly offering aid, or by finding someone else who can. With this in mind, it may also be a good idea for you and your buddy to have training in CPR as well. This is especially handy for swimming facilities that do not have a lifeguard present.
Always Watch Your Children
Every year, an average 945 American children who love swimming die from drowning. It is an extremely scary statistic, but there are things that can be done to prevent it. 9 out of 10 deaths happen when a caregiver is not paying attention. Therefore, supervision without distraction is the absolute key to preventing drownings. Long Island Parenting Institute (LIPI) classes teach effective, distraction-free parenting skills.
When you head to the pool this summer, be sure to keep a constant eye on your children. You may also want to enroll them in swimming classes if they don’t already know how to swim, and to use flotation devices for younger children. However, regardless of your child’s training and the number of flotation devices they have, the mot important thing is never to leave them unattended.
Never Drink and Swim
Never underestimate the power of the water. While most people hang out around a beach or pool to have an enjoyable time, you should never drink before you swim or drive a boat. Being inebriated while driving a boat can be just as dangerous as driving a car drunk, and is just as illegal. Drinking and swimming are dangerous for many reasons, such as causing disorientation, a drop in body temperature which can lead to hypothermia, and problems with airflow. Swimming is hard enough for some people, but swimming under the influence can be disastrous for all. In fact, alcohol is involved in about half of all male teen drownings. If you or someone you know is alcohol dependent, the Alcohol Education Program (AEP) may be a good resource.
Know Where You’re Swimming
Swimming in a pool is very different from swimming in a river or the ocean. In pools, the water is maintained at a regulated depth and temperature. However, natural sources of water provide many dangers for the overconfident swimmers. While swimming, you can come across an unexpected drop in elevation or a sudden change in temperature. Many natural bodies of water also have strong currents that need more stamina to keep up with and they can be full of rocks, branches, or other debris that waders can slip and fall on. Therefore, be very careful when you’re swimming in a river, lake, or ocean. Take note of the color of the water to determine depth and move to different locations very slowly.
Having fun near the pool or beach is a classic American pastime during the summer. Some can go on vacation to a popular beach, while others may own their own backyard pool. Wherever it is, everyone should stay safe this summer by ensuring proper etiquette near the water.
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Jennifer Perry followed her passion of freelance writing. When she isn’t working, she loves long hikes among nature, cooking and being with her family.