grandmother helping young girl with life jacket
June 7, 2019 | by The Polyclinic

Better boating weather also means that more people will be in, on, or near water. Keep you and your family safe with these tips to kick off summer.

  • Wear a life jacket.

    Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boat, raft or inner tube, swimming in open water, playing in or near water and participating in water activities. More than 80 percent of boating deaths caused by drowning included victims not wearing life jackets, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). When investing in a life jacket, make sure that it is U.S. Coast Guard approved.

  • Keep a close watch on kids.

    Close and constant supervision is the best way to prevent drowning because it can happen quickly and quietly. In Washington state, an average of 20 children and teens drown each year. Look for beach areas that have lifeguards when possible.

  • Enroll your child in swim lessons.

    Lacking the ability to swim puts many children and adults at risk for drowning. Swimming lessons can provide valuable skills such as basic strokes, floating and breathing under water. Signing your child up for a formal swimming lesson can reduce drowning risk.

  • Know the signs of drowning.

    It’s not always the dramatic scene from a movie with flailing arms and visible commotion. Often victims are not able to call or wave for help. Drowning can look and sound very quiet – head low in the water, face obstructed by hair, not making noise or head tilted.

  • Be smart about alcohol.

    Not only should your boat operator be sober, but it’s important for those supervising children to be fully alert and focused. Alcohol can impair judgement and one second can be critical when it comes to drowning prevention.

  • Be aware of your environment.

    When you are in and around natural water settings, look at the clues nature gives you. Boating in the spring means that the water will be much colder and rivers can be higher from melted snowfall. Look out for waves that are choppy or filled with debris that can pose hazards.

  • Learn CPR.

    Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a great skill that can be detrimental in case of an emergency. Learning what steps you need to take in case of an emergency will leave you more prepared and ready to act quickly when it comes to potentially dangerous situations while swimming.

  • Pay attention to water depth.

    Whether or not you’re at a pool or swimming in open waters, it’s important to know the water depth in order to prevent injuries. Diving into shallow water can lead to serious injuries. Before participating in water activities, take note of how deep the water is. This will help prevent any trauma when entering the water.

  • Stay hydrated

    Like any other physical activity, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. Swimming for extended periods of time can lead to exhaustion and dehydration. Remember that this should be clean water, and not the water that you’re swimming in.