The rain this year delayed the inevitable, but here we are staring August in the face, and the temperatures are consistently hitting 100F. Back to normal for Greenville, TX. It seems like the only place to cool off is in the water.
Jumping in the pool, boating at the lake, or road-tripping to the beach are great ways to cool off and take advantage of slow summer days. But water recreation is not without risks. It’s critical that you are prepared so the rest of your summer is safe and fun.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 3,500 people drowned each year from 2005-2009 from non-boating related incidents. In addition, around 350 more died in each of those years in boating-related incidents. Non-fatal drowning injuries may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning. And while around 50 percent of those who drown are children under 5, there are still a large number of fatalities in other age groups. Water safety is for everyone.
It sounds scary, but there are a few simple things you can do to keep your family safe in and around the water.
The American Red Cross suggests making water safety your priority, preventing unsupervised access to the water, maintaining constant supervision, and knowing how to handle an emergency. Some of their key water safety points include:
- Learn to swim. It’s never too late to learn to swim and this ability can save your life. The American Red Cross offers swimming lessons for all ages to help you keep safe and have fun in the water.
- Use life jackets appropriately. If you or someone in your family is unable to swim, have them wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets around water. Swimmers still need supervision, but the life jacket is an extra level of protection for those who need it. Always wear life jackets when boating. Most boating deaths are caused by drowning, and a life jacket can get you to the top of the water if you are incapacitated from an accident.
- Supervise children. Drowning is silent and can happen quickly. Children need constant, undistracted attention in the water. Don’t let the thought that you’ll only be out of view for a minute tempt you. It won’t hurt your kids to hop out of the pool for a minute while you refill your iced tea or run to the restroom. And even when they aren’t swimming, kids need to be watched around water. Kids can trip and fall or even (gasp) disobey from time to time. Water is pretty tempting when you’re a kid!
- Swim with a buddy. No one should ever swim alone, even adults or those in a setting with a lifeguard.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Keep reaching and throwing equipment near your pool and always bring your cell phone to the pool with you to call 911 if needed.
The American Red Cross offers a number of water safety classes, from swimming lessons for any age or experience level to how to keep a home swimming pool safe. Check out their Greenville, TX classes on the American Red Cross website.
By observing these simple precautions, the water can be the source of great fun and memories for your family this summer. Cannonball!
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