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Health and Fitness News

Keep It Fun in the Sun

Safety tips for summer water activities.

The summer months are the most popular time for outdoor activities, and the heat sends people to whatever water they can find. Pools, lakes, and oceans attract people all summer long, offering a place to cool down, exercise, spend time with friends, relax, and have fun. But fun in the sun only lasts as long as everyone is safe and healthy. A day at the pool can quickly become your worst nightmare if someone gets hurt or drowns.
Be wise around the water this summer with these safety tips.

Learn to Swim

People who don’t grow up near water or with pool access may never learn to swim. For children and adults, the inability to swim poses a huge drowning risk. Therefore, swimming is a life skill that everyone should know. You’re never too old or too young to learn how to swim. Babies as young as six months can take swim lessons. Sign up for classes at your local community center or YMCA. It will be time well spent.

Supervise Children

Anytime young children are close to water, there should be an adult within arm’s reach, keeping close watch on them. Older kids who know how to swim also need adult supervision. It’s easy to get distracted at a crowded pool, to get lost looking at your phone, or to think someone else is keeping an eye on your kids. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment for tragedy to strike.

Wear a Life Vest

To be safe, young kids or new swimmers should always wear a life vest when in or near the water. Floaties, rafts, water wings, or noodles are fun water accessories, but they should never take the place of a certified life jacket. Don’t get lazy though. Even when a child is wearing a life vest, they need close adult supervision.

Know Emergency Protocol

When someone is struggling in the water or drowning, your instinct is likely to jump in after them. However, unless it’s a little child, this can be dangerous for both of you. Remember this quote: “Reach and throw–don’t go.” Throw a float or extend a pole the struggling person can hold. Scream for help and call 911. Because it takes time for emergency help to arrive, it’s wise for parents and caregivers to be trained in CPR in the event someone drowns or stops breathing.

Follow the Rules

Rules and laws are put in place to protect you. See a sign that says “No Diving”? It’s there for a good reason. Serious head and neck injuries can happen if you dive in shallow water. Not sure how deep the water is? Don’t dive in to find out. Pools often post signs that tell you not to eat, chew gum, bring glass containers, or run around the pool deck. These rules aren’t meant to eliminate fun, but to keep you safe. Also, if thunder is heard or lightning is seen, get out of the pool for at least 30 minutes. Lighting poses a serious risk of injury for those in the water.

Additionally, be smart about where you swim. Only swim in areas of the pool, lake, or ocean that are designated for swimming. Young kids should stay within the roped areas of the pool. Before heading out in the ocean, check your beach’s flags. A yellow flag warns of rough waters and swimming is discouraged. A red flag cautions of high hazards and swimming is highly discouraged. A double-red flag means no one should enter the water due to rough waters, dangerous rip tides, or sharks. The purple flag indicates the presence of stingrays, jellyfish, or other marine life that could injure you.