Swimming Safety for Children

It’s that time of year again where families are enjoying the sun, the waves and each other. Summertime activities for families often include spending time at the pool or the beach as a refreshing getaway from the daily grind.

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What can be a wonderful way to spend time with your loved ones can turn into a traumatic event in a flash. Nearly 3,000 children annually are treated for accidents that occur in water related activities. Of those figures nearly 400 result in death and 50% of child survivors of submersion incidents are left with brain damage.

75% of children who are treated for submersion incidents are under the age of 3 years old. Statistics also show that over 60% of the victims were under adult supervision in a familiar area such as their own back yard.

Drowning accidents happen quickly. On average, a child who has drowned was unsupervised for less than 5 minutes. This means, the time it takes to glance at your cell phone or take call is enough time for a child to drown. Every second counts!

Child drowning is a silent death. Small children will not be splashing about or calling out for help. You will not be alerted if a child is in trouble.

If you will be spending time near water, please remember these important safety tips for children:

  • NEVER leave a child unsupervised by a pool or water for even a moment and do not assume flotation accessories, safety devices or life jackets will do the job alone if you step away for a moment.
  • ALWAYS have young children or inexperienced swimmers war a US Coast430d12aceb248f1272a55a9c9db0350b--kids-swimming-swimming-pools.jpg Guard Approved Life Jacket
  • DO NOT allow a child in a pool without an adult also in the pool.
  • Install a fence or other barrier around the pool. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm. The fence or barrier should be at least 4 feet high and have no foot- or handholds that could help a child climb it. Openings in the barrier should be less than 4” in diameter. Also, the gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.
  • Above Ground Pools should have steps or ladders leading to the pool disabled, locked or removed when the pool is not in use.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when not in use and never leave or allow use of items such as tricycles or other riding toys near the pool.
  • Don’t assume if there is a Lifeguard on duty you don’t need to keep a constant eye on your child. Lifeguards are watching everyone and usually very busy. All people in the area are their responsibility so their focus must be constantly shifting and we cannot stress enough that it only takes a few seconds for a child to slip underneath the water and silently suffer.
  • At beaches or lakes where there is a lifeguard present, be sure to check with the guard to find out about the current water conditions. Unlike the calm waters of a swimming pool, the ocean has dangers such as currents, tides, or undertow.
  • Before you go to a water park, make sure there is a qualified lifeguard on duty at all times, be aware of which rides are appropriate for your child based on the age and size of your child, and review the rules of the water park in detail with your child making sure he/she understands.
  • At lakes and ponds remember the surface likely has jagged rocks, broken bottles and hazardous trash as well as vastly changing depths from the shore to just a few feet out.

KidsPlayingInLakeSummer-1464474088-1.jpgWhenever a child is missing, check the pool first. Every second counts! If you find a child in the water, instantly get him/her out and call to others for help. Make sure someone has called 9-1-1 immediately.  Check to make sure the child’s air passages are clear. If the child is not breathing, start CPR if you are trained to do so. When the emergency number is called, follow the instructions the emergency operators provide. If you suspect the child has suffered a neck injury, such as from diving, keep the child on his/her back and brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms to help keep the neck from moving to minimize further injury until emergency help arrives. This type of immobilization is best done by someone who is trained in the technique. Keep the child still and speak in calm tones to keep the child comforted. Continue to watch for adequate breathing.

For more safety tips and advice regarding children’s water safety, visit Kid’s Health for Parents. For tips about sun exposure safety, be sure to check out our previous blog “Keeping Summer Fun and Safe” and be sure to follow the Close Range Safety Tips blog year round for useful information.

Close Range Safety Training Academy recommends that everyone receive First Aid and CPR training for adults, children and infants.  We offer multiple American Red Cross courses that can aid in saving lives and preventing injuries.  To book your training, please visit www.closerangetraining.com.

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Keep Summer Sun Fun and Safe!

One of the benefits of the sun’s rays is your skin produces vitamin D naturally when you are in the sun.  If your skin is not prone to sunburn, you can enjoy the health benefits of the sun’s direct rays anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes on your arms, hands, and face two to three times a week to received the vitamin D-boosting benefits of sun. (Note that the sun actually has to penetrate the skin but exposure should be a maximum of 15 minutes before applying sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin.)

While there are lots of great reasons to get out into the sun, remember the ultraviolet rays of sunshine can damage your skin even in cool temperatures.  When summertime arrives we all find ourselves exposed to the sun more frequently.   Summer is a time for outdoor activity with family and friends, swimming, sunbathing and generally enjoying the uplifting weather. But, remember the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin after 15 minutes of direct exposure.

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Here are 5 key things to remember to protect your skin from the damage of ultraviolet rays:

  1. Seek Shade! Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by enjoying the outdoors under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun.
  2. Dress Wisely.  In warm weather, we don’t want to be fully clothed because it will look and feel uncomfortable.  But, there are fashions made specifically to have a summertime style while still offering full protection.  For help picking the best UV Protective wear for you and your loved ones, visit this website to learn more.
  3. Wear a large brimmed hat. For the best protection, choose a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. And, if you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
  4. UV Rays can also harm your eyes – WEAR SUNGLASSES!  Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side. When purchasing sunglasses, be sure to read the label to ensure they offer a high level of protection from UV rays.
  5. USE SUNSCREEN! You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Sunscreen products can only be labeled “broad spectrum” if they have been tested and shown to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Only broad spectrum sunscreen products with an SPF of 15 or higher can state that they help protect against skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures. Sunscreens labeled with SPFs as high as 100+ are available. Higher numbers do mean more protection, but many people don’t understand the SPF scale. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes.