With summer around the corner, many of us will be heading to the water. Whether you or your kids plan to enjoy the lake, river, ocean or your shallow backyard pool, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around the water.
Contradictory to what most people think, drowning victims don’t thrash, wave and yell while struggling. Drowning is unexpectedly quiet and can happen in seconds. Keep yourself and your kids safe with the following water safety tips:
- Learn to swim
Swimming is a life-saving skill and helps give you and your child confidence to be around water. YMCA Calgary has swim lessons for all ages, and each of our swim lesson include a water safety component. Keep in mind, even if your kid has done swimming lessons it does not mean you shouldn’t be supervising them when they are around water.
According to Lifesaving Society, Swim to Survive is the minimum skills you need to have if you accidentally fall into deep water. This standard is the first step to being safe around water. This standard skill sequence includes:
- Roll into deep water
- Tread water for one minute
- Swim 50 metres
- Always swim with a buddy
Even a great swimmer can get in trouble when out in the water. It is important to swim with a buddy as they will be able to call for help if you get in any trouble.
- Use lifejackets and other floatation devices
We recommend always wearing a lifejacket or other floatation device when outside in uncontrolled water. Lifejackets are designed to turn a person over from face-down to face-up. A personal floatation device will keep a person floating, but not necessarily face-up. Please review our video as our Aquatics Risk Specialist demonstrates how to properly fit a lifejacket.
- Supervise children/adults at all times when in or near water
It is important to always watch your child when around water even if they know how to swim. This means putting down your cellphone, book or anything that might distract you. The Lifesaving Society recommends a supervision ratio of at least 1 adult for every 2 young children, and 1 adult for every infant. One way to help with this is be engaged with your child, come up with games you can play together when near the water.
- Review and discuss risks before entering the water
You might be familiar with one body water from last summer, however, things change during the winter we never know how the water changed. Before entering any bodies of water make sure you walk through the hazards with your children. It is important to look for any river currents, ocean rip currents, the temperature of the water, if the water is shallow or unclear and if there are any underwater hazards such as vegetation and animals.
- Drink plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated
Many people forget to drink water when they are swimming. Even though you are in water, you are still working out, it is important that you are drinking enough water. Dehydration can still occur, which can lead to muscles cramps. This can be dangerous especially when swimming and can lead to drowning.
- Know your limits
Even though you might be a strong swimmer make sure that you are not overworking yourself. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a break if you are starting to get fatigued. This is important for children as well, encourage them to come out of the water for a bit and rest.
- Cover water containers when not in use
Ensure kiddie pools, buckets, and other sources of open water are covered when children can access and there is no supervision.
All information was referenced from the LifeSaving Society and Jen Swail, Aquatics Risk Specialist with YMCA Calgary. To learn more about how to be safe around this summer please go to www.lifesaving.org
We hope you have a fun and safe summer this year!
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