The summer season is filled with many enjoyable activities, many of which take place in or around water. As people head to beaches and neighborhood swimming pools, or take recreational boating trips, water safety becomes increasingly important. Drowning remains the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14, and in 2004, boating accidents caused a reported 3,363 injuries and 676 fatalities.
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Injury Prevention Institute/EN CARE offers the following tips for parents and children to ensure safe play in water and on boats.
Water safety tips
Never leave a child unsupervised around water in or outside the home. It takes only a few seconds and one inch of water for a child to drown.
Pools should have a fence that is at least 4 feet tall with a high gate latch that is not reachable by children.
Keep rescue equipment, a telephone and a list of emergency numbers at the poolside.
Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use, as children can be tempted by floating pool toys.
Secure, lock or remove ladders to above-ground pools when they are not being used.
Use only Coast Guard-approved life preservers or life jackets. Air-filled flotation devices such as water wings or tubes actually increase chances of drowning.
No one, not even adults, should swim alone. Teach children to swim with a buddy.
Take a class in how to perform infant/child CPR.
The American Red Cross recommends at least 9 feet of depth for safe diving and jumping. Never dive headfirst into unknown waters.
Boating safety tips
Know how to operate your boat safely in all weather and water conditions.
Ensure your boat has the safety equipment required by law and that it is in working order.
Participate in the Vessel Safety Check program, provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron.
Boat operators should be familiar with the body of water being navigated.
All passengers must always wear a life jacket while boating.
Always avoid alcohol while operating a boat.
Maintain a safe speed at all times.
Water skiers and swimmers should be at least 20 feet from the back of a moving boat to avoid carbon monoxide exposure.
Courtesy of ARA Content
from the May 23-29, 2007, issue