Friday, July 1, 2016

Stay safe on the water this Fourth of July

Summer is in full swing, with all of the lake and pool-side fun that comes along with it. However, dangers associated with water can’t be ignored: There have been at least six drownings or near drownings in the Table Rock Lake area in 2016 so far. It’s a number typically found in an entire summer in that area, says Jason Martin, CoxHealth’s injury prevention outreach coordinator.
Below are some tips Martin believes can help ensure a safer summer experience – and tip number one is simple: When on the water, wear a life jacket.
“All states have regulations regarding life-jacket wear by children,” says Martin. “Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. To work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.”

Here are some other ways to stay safe this summer:

  • Brush up on swimming skills. Formal swimming lessons are a great way for kids (and adults) to be in the water with confidence – and know how to keep calm if they get in water that’s a little too deep.
  • Use the buddy system. No one should swim alone, especially since drowning is prone to happen silently.
  • Learn CPR. Such skills could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking should be avoided before and during swimming, water skiing or boating – and while supervising children.
  • And again: Wear a life jacket. Certain life jackets are designed to keep people’s heads above water and help them remain in a position which permits proper breathing. To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard- approved life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and over must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well. Life jackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded. And life jackets should be easily accessible – if they’re not at hand, they’re of no use.