When summer begins many Tennessee families begin to travel, enjoy outdoor activities and find the closest source of water to beat the heat. Before you enjoy time at the lake, pool, river or nearest ocean think about water safety first!
Across the nation, two children under the age of 14 die from drowning every single day. Drowning is a leading cause of injury or death for children between 1 and 4-years-old. Young children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it can happen quickly. In 2016, 22 children drowned in Tennessee. Near drowning incidents can also leave children with long term consequences like memory problems, learning disabilities and other permanent physical limitations.
Reduce the risk of drowning
· Use life jackets when in, on or near natural bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers.
· Start swim lessons as soon as your child is ready.
· Provide close, constant supervision in and around water. Keep your eyes off your phone and on the children in the water
· Know CPR
· Fence and secure swimming pools.
· Prevent access to water when not in use or adults are not near.
Recreational Water Illnesses
Recreational water illnesses, or RWIs can be caused by germs spread to people by swallowing water or coming in contact with contaminated water in pools, water parks, hot tubs, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds or oceans. The parasites, viruses and bacteria from swimmers can end up in the water and make you or your children very sick. Here are some tips on how to prevent RWIs;
· Don’t swim if you have diarrhea
· Wash your body with soap before and after swimming
· Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers
· Take children on frequent bathroom breaks or check diapers often
· Check and change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area, not at poolside
· Don’t swallow the water where you swim
· Read and follow directions for pool chemical use and storage
Swimming is an excellent way to get the physical activity and health benefits every member of you family needs, but it does come with some risk. Follow these tips to make sure your next dip in the water is a fun and safe one;
· Learn how to swim. If you like to have a good time doing water activities, being a strong swimmer is a must.
· Take a friend with you. Even though you may be a good swimmer, you never know when you may need help. Having friends around is safer and just more fun!
· Know your limits. Recognize when you’re too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much hard activity.
· Swim in supervised areas only.
· Wear a life jacket when boating, jet skiing, water skiing, rafting or fishing.
· Stay alert about the currents. Visiting an ocean? Currents can change quickly. If you get caught in a strong current, don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you have passed through it.
· Watch the weather. If you hear thunder and see lightning, take the fun inside.
· Do not dive into shallow water. If you don’t know how deep the water is, don’t dive.