July 2, 2014

Make a Splash This Summer

By Pam Haumann
New Parent Services Manager
Child Abuse Council

Summer is upon us, and with that comes our desire to enjoy the great outdoors. But beware, there is danger lurking in our rivers, lakes and swimming pools that can destroy a beautiful summer day for you and your family.

Did you know that the second leading cause of accidental deaths for those ages 5-24, is drowning? Taking water safety seriously can prevent a child from becoming a victim. As a parent or caretaker, here are some safety tips to follow this summer to protect your loved ones.

1. If you do not or cannot swim, consider signing up for swimming lessons. They are available to everyone through your local Y or park board and can accommodate any age from infants to octogenarians.

2. Never swim alone, always swim with a friend or “buddy.” This tip can save your life if you encounter problems and need help. Another point to add, never allow children in the water without an adult present. Lifeguards are trained in water rescue techniques, but they may not be as close to a potentially dangerous situation as a parent or caretaker in the water with the child.

3. Learn lifesaving skills such as CPR and rescue techniques. These are available through the local Red Cross and Y.

4. Know your limits and don’t venture into water that is too deep. This is especially important information for non-swimmers and beginners. Stay where you can stand and keep the water at or below shoulder level.

5 Only swim in safe areas that are posted and supervised. Obey the signs. They are there for a reason.

6. Abstain from diving off of docks, boats, etc. in rivers and lakes. Diving is a leading cause of spinal cord injuries that can result in paralysis and even death. You can’t always see what is underneath the surface of the water.

7. Sunburns can inflict great pain. You may feel cool and comfortable in the water, but the sun’s reflection off of the water and/or sand can be brutal. Infants, toddlers and young children are particularly vulnerable to the sun’s burning rays. Keep plenty of sunscreen on hand and apply often to their tender, exposed skin. Use sunscreen with the highest SPF rating you can find on children.

8. Make sure you and your family/friends/children drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic) to prevent dehydration. Save yourself a trip to the emergency room due to dizziness, nausea and vomiting caused by dehydration. Stay sober. More people die in boating accidents than airplane crashes or train wrecks every year. Alcohol is generally involved.

9. Do you have a trip planned to the water park? When enjoying water slides, go down feet first and avoid a trip to your doctor or dentist.

10. Always use a Coast Guard approved life jacket, otherwise known as a personal flotation device, whether fishing, boating, riding jet skis, etc. These can provide buoyancy if you fall, become unconscious, or are injured. They are great for small children playing in pool areas and will provide you with reasonable peace of mind.

Relax and have fun with your children and/or grandchildren by keeping summer safety in mind.

For more information about the Child Abuse Council’s prevention, education and treatment programs, you can
visit us at www.childabuseqc.org or contact me at pamh@childabuseqc.org.

Filed Under: Family, Health & Wellness