Health Advocate Blog

Swim safely this summer!

Whether at a poolside barbecue, a rope swing at the lake, or splashing around in the ocean, one of the best ways to beat the heat in the summer is going for a swim with friends or family. However, exercise caution, as this fun activity can turn into an emergency in a split second. Follow these tips to help you swim safely this summer.

Know how to swim! Knowing how to swim will naturally make you feel more comfortable and confident in the water. Swimming lessons can be equally beneficial for both children and adults. Having advanced swimming skills can help save your life, or the life of someone who may not know how to swim.

Know what to do in a water emergency — including how to safely help someone in trouble in the water, who to call for emergency help, and how to perform CPR.

Inexperienced swimmers and children should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely only on life jackets to stay safe.

Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone, especially children, to swim alone. Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

Heed safety signs and flags. If there is a sign, flag, notice of cut-off time or other warning for swimming, pay attention and follow the rules! These warnings are there for a reason and can help you avoid accidents, injuries or worse.

Be aware of your surroundings while in the water. Be aware of factors like weather, currents, water levels, as well as other people who may be doing other activities close by like boating, fishing or jet skiing. Remember, always get out of the water and seek
shelter if there is thunder or lightning. Watch for animals who call the water their home.

Avoid drinking alcohol before or while swimming, diving or supervising swimmers. It can slow down your reaction time or hinder your ability to respond to a situation.

Don’t forget your sun protection! Nothing puts a damper on summer fun quicker than a sunburn. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, wear sunglasses with UV protection, and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Try to stay in the shade from 10 AM to 2 PM, when the burning UV rays are most intense.

Be sure to heed these swimming safety tips before jumping into the pool, lake, or ocean –it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Source: American Red Cross: Water Safety: