Swim safety a must this summer

With the weather getting warmer more families are making their way outdoors to enjoy a bit of fun in the sun. Warm weather also means that people will be cooling of with a nice dip in the swimming pool or by splashing around in the sea. However, water can pose a great danger to children – especially those who don’t know how to swim. 

Water safety is very important, especially during the summer months while children are off school and will be enjoying the sunshine. There are a few water safety tips that you should always keep in mind in order to keep yourself at ease while around the water this summer. 

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that no matter where you are swimming, pool or beach, you should never swim alone. Similarly, children should not be left unattended while in the water. Drowning can happen very fast and can be silent. Always make sure that swimmers are within eyeshot of someone out of the water so that should things turn for the worst, there will be help nearby. 

Learning to swim is a must, especially when living on an island. In order to ensure basic water safety, you should get your child swimming lessons at an early age. Children who have gone through swimming lessons generally have a better understanding of water and safety precautions. Laura Ribbins from Fitness Connection says, “There are a million rules for the pool and sea. Kids need constant supervision around water — whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, an ornamental fish pond, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach, or a lake. Young children are especially vulnerable — they can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimetres) of water.” Getting your children swimming lessons as early as possible is key to them feeling comfortable around water. Laura has some words of warning though. “Please don’t assume that a child that knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. And infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.” She adds “All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels.” While swimming lessons are a good basis for water safety, it is important to know the different safety precautions when around pools and the ocean, as there are different things to keep in mind in each environment. 

 

Pools 

Many people have their own pools, or have friends who have pools which means that there’s a chance that at some point this summer your children will be around a swimming pool. 

One of the most important elements of pool safety is to remember the dangers of pool drains. Swimmers with longer hair could get their hair trapped in the drain, which could prevent them from being able to resurface to get air – leading to drowning. Children who can swim and who enjoy diving to the bottom of pools should be taught the dangers that drains can pose. 

If small children are around then it is important to have a sufficient barrier around the pool in order to prevent any accidents. With small children it is also important to take all pool floats and pool toys out of the water as these items could attract a child into the water. 

The water from pools can make the surrounding area very slippery  

so don’t allow children to horseplay around a pool or run. If someone does get into difficulties Laura says first ask what is around the pool area that you could throw to the one in trouble? A foam noodle? A life ring or lifejacket? She says, “If you can throw a buoyant object and tell the swimmer in trouble to hang on and kick towards the edge and you will stay safe.” You can make your own throwing assist rescue equipment by taking an empty plastic milk jug (keep cap on) and tie it onto a rope of about 8 feet long. Laura suggests that people can practice rescues with their kids with the rescuer standing on the edge of the pool, holding on to the end of the rope and throwing the attached buoyant bottle out to the victim.  

 

Beach 

Our beautiful island is surrounded by exquisite beaches, so it would make sense to want to enjoy the beach this summer. While beaches are beautiful places and are generally quite serene, they can also be very dangerous if aspects of safety are overlooked. 

When going to the beach, research the weather before you go. It can be incredibly dangerous to swim during bad weather as the water can become very rough which can cause deadly currents or high waves which can prevent swimmers from getting back to shore. Also, should there be thunder or lightening while you are at the beach, it is best to get out of the water as it is better to be safe than sorry. 

It is also important to remind children to stay away from dangerous marine life when swimming. Marine creatures such a jellyfish can be harmful when people come into contact with them, and as children can be very curious there is a chance that they may want to get up close to the creature. Reminding children to excercise caution while around marine life can mean the difference between a fun learning experience at the beach or a trip to the hospital. 

Fitness Connection
Tips for Parents  

Walk slowly in the pool area. Don’t run. 

Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you’re just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end. 

Don’t push or jump on others. You could accidentally hurt someone or yourself. 

Watch out for the dangerous “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.  

Don’t chew gum or eat while you swim — you could choke 

Don’t rely on flotation devices to protect 
your children in the water. They need to be watched just as closely with floaties as without. 

Install a self-closing gate around the pool, 

Install an alarm that signals if a 
door is left open 

Remove any toys that may attract children to the pool area.  

Avoid keeping water in buckets or other large containers open and laying around