Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for Americans between 5 and 24 years of age. Water-related accidents can include drowning, pool-related accidents, and boating accidents. Accidents near bodies of water can be fatal and can also cause serious injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other injuries. Many water-related accidents can be avoided. Here’s how:
1) Never swim alone. Whether you are a teen or an adult, always swim with someone else present. Even if you have had lots of experience, sudden cramps, fatigue, or a current can pose an immediate danger. Children should never swim without qualified adult supervision.
2) Get lessons. Children should be taught to swim at an early age – swimming lessons can help save your child’s life if your child falls into a lake or pool. Adults should get first-aid and CPR classes. Every adult supervising children who are swimming should be a strong swimmer and should have CPR training in case mouth to mouth is needed.
3) Choose swimming areas carefully. Public swimming areas supervised by a professional lifeguard are the safest places for children and teens to swim. Make sure that your children aren’t swimming at an unsupervised local swimming hole, where riptides, wildlife, currents, and other dangers may be undetected.
4) Know your children’s limits. If your children are just new to swimming, make sure that they swim in safe areas that are appropriate for their skill level. Have your children swim with other children who are at the same skill level. If your child is swimming with stronger swimmers, he or she may take risks in order to try to keep up.
5) Make sure your children know how to dive. Diving causes many spinal cord injuries when swimmers dive into water that is too shallow or contains rocks. Make certain that your children’s swimming classes include diving lessons and teach your children to only dive in swimming pools in the diving area of the pool.
6) Make sure your children stay hydrated and sun-safe when swimming. Sun reflects off water and can cause burns more quickly. Make sure your children wear water-proof sun block or frequently apply sun block when swimming outdoors. Encourage your children to drink plenty of water, as well, to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration.