MRTSA: Water Safety Tips

We asked Medical Rescue Team South Authority to provide tips to keep our residents safe, based on their most frequent calls. Today, EMT Brieanna Gerner shares how to stay safe in the water this summer.

A boy and a girl smile in the pool

Hot summer days call for cooling off in the water! However, it is important that water safety be a top priority.

“It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line or apply sunscreen. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in home pools and hot tubs at the beach or in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, bathtubs, and even buckets,” per the American Red Cross.

It only takes one inch of water to drown.

From 2015 to 2017, approximately 74% of drowning incidents for children younger than 15 occurred in residential locations. It is imperative that youth are looked after to decrease drowning. While many bodies of water have lifeguards, lifeguards are not babysitters. Due to the nature of their job, they cannot devote all of their attention to one specific child or patron. It’s up to the parents and/or guardians to remain vigilant to make sure their child is safe when near water.

A child jumps into the pool as its mom catches himYounger children are at the highest risk of drowning due to size, swimming ability, lack of developed motor skills and over confidence. The unthinkable happens in that one instance when you “look away for a second.”

Be vigilant when watching youth swim and encourage youngsters to always ask permission before entering any body of water.

Remember to use coast guard approved flotation devices to aid your child in swimming, but be advised that this does not replace you being in the water with them. Children need someone to help them learn the skills they need to be safe.

Older children frequently have a sense of invincibility, which can lead to a preventable injury and, in extreme situations, death. Adults can guide preteens and teens to make safe choices around the water, and in turn, encourage positive water safety habits.

While a dive might impress a summer crush, it can also cause serious damage if it is done in water that is too shallow or an unfamiliar body of water.

Avoid pushing or jumping on others. It may be fun at the moment, but if that person is unprepared or unable to swim in that body of water, serious injury or death can occur.

Alcohol and drugs should never be consumed before or during any water activity.

Keep in mind the rule of “too’s.” Being too tired, too cold, too far from the wall/shore, too much sun, and too much hard activity are all signs to take a break from water activities. Be prepared for emergencies related to water; take a CPR class, take a free class from the Red Cross on water safety, take a swimming class or enroll a child/loved one in a swimming class.

The Red Cross offers a free online course for water safety.

Other resources include the Red Cross preparedness guide, the National Safety Council’s pool safety tips, water safety tips from the CDC and Kid’s Health.