In our previous two installments of the Summer Safety Series, we talked about heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Cooling off in the water is a great way to avoid these other two heat related illnesses but it can pose some very real dangers. The risk of water-related injury or death when in, on or near the water is far greater than perceived. However, being aware of these dangers is a great way to stay safe and enjoy your time in the water this summer. Here are some tips to ensure you stay safe while enjoying the water this summer:
Swimming with a partner is one of the best, and easiest practices in staying safe around the water. Even the most experienced swimmers can become tired or experience muscle cramps while swimming. In a situation like this your partner can offer you assistance while also calling out for further help.
Check water currents
Water currents can be powerful enough to sweep away those who enter them. Before entering the water, take in to consideration how fast the water is flowing. If you think the water is flowing quickly or are unsure, stay out of the water. Check with your local conservation authority for river flows before heading out in to the water. If swimming at a beach, look for flags indicating the power of undertows or ask a lifeguard if one is present.
Do not dive in unknown waters
Diving head first into the water should only be done if and when the depth of the water is well known. Although you may not be able to see the bottom, this does not guarantee the water is deep enough to dive. There may be hidden dangers like rocks hidden by murky waters. Oppositely, just because you can see the bottom, the actual depth of the water can be deceiving when looking from above.
Children should never be left unsupervised in or near water. It only takes a few seconds for a child to drown in the absence of an adult. Any time you need to leave the children unsupervised, make sure they are well clear of the water. It takes only a few centimetres of water for a child or baby to drown. For every drowning death, there are numerous non-fatal near-drownings that require hospitalization.
Swim within the buoys
When there are buoys indicating a designated swimming area, do not stray from their confines. Outside of swimming area may be hidden dangers such as marine life, rocks, or boating traffic. The water is just as nice inside the buoys as it is outside!