Each May is designated as National Water Safety Month. Summer may not start till June, but May is when schools go on break, temperatures start to rise and people everywhere head to the beach or pool to kick back and cool off. Yet, as fun as recreation can be, it's important to recognize the associated dangers. Between 2005 and 2009, there were 10 (non-boating related) drowning deaths every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luckily, these accidents are voidable if you and your family know how to behave around water.
"The risk of drowning is a real and constant danger."
Here are three helpful tips for keeping any swimming excursion safe and fun:
1. Safety gear is crucial
If anyone in your family isn't an experienced swimmer – that includes children and adults – the American Red Cross suggested he or she wear a safety jacket. In the same way you'd want to wear the proper shoes when running, you need to make sure the jackets fit properly. Too loose, and the jacket can slip up to your face and increase the risk of an accident. However, if the jacket's too small, then the swimmer can't move fluidly. The California State Parks Department said jackets should fit snugly around the arms and the opening. However, be aware that life jackets and flotation devices aren't drowning proof. Children especially still require proper supervision around water.
2. Prep your poolside
As of spring 2015, 21.08 million people lived in a household with a pool, spa or hot tub (per figures from Statista). If you're among that population, there are a few things you can do to keep your pool area safe, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Any time people are using the pool, be sure to remove any potential obstacles from the walking path; that includes patio tables and chairs, which should be placed toward the back. Have a few pieces of safety equipment – like a safety ring or buoy and a shepherd's pole made of fiberglass, which does not conduct electricity. It's also a good idea to keep a phone near the pool area.
3. Change it up for the beach
No two bodies of water are the same. As the United States Lifesaving Association pointed out, there are different behaviors and considerations when heading to the beach. At the beach, it's especially important to swim near the lifeguard stations and also have a buddy as an extra precaution. Never dive into the water headfirst; enter with your feet forward to prevent injuries. Unlike the pool, the beach has dangers of rip currents. If you encounter these, it's important to stay calm and try to swim parallel to the shore until you no longer feel as if you're being pulled. Finally, many experts, including the Red Cross, would agree that life jackets should be mandatory for everyone at the beach.
Drowning isn't the only danger of a day at the pool or beach. Sprained ankles, pulled muscles and sprained backs are all quite common. If you're injured, you can head to your nearest CareWell Urgent Care center. With locations across the East Coast, CareWell's team of doctors and nurses can get you back on your feet and in the water in no time.