Swim and boat safely this summer

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Ashley Spalding

During the summer season, many people will spend time enjoying being in or on water. Before taking the boat out, visiting the pool, or trying a new water sport, it is imperative to understand proper safety and risk prevention. It is especially important for parents to review the rules of water safety with their children to prevent drowning.

A small child can drown within minutes in as much as a few inches of water while children between the ages of 1 and 4 typically drown in swimming pools. As children grow older, drowning occurs most often in lakes, rivers, and other open areas of water.

Before your family ventures to a swimming pool this summer, keep these safety precautions in mind and pass them along to your children:

· Teach your children to swim.

· Never leave infants or young children unattended near any body of water.

· Only swim in places that are supervised.

· Never dive into unfamiliar water.

· Never drink alcohol and swim.

Boating remains one of the most popular summer recreational activities with more than 70 million Americans involved in recreational boating. With such a high number of participants, it is important to be aware of any risks and problems associated with boating. Preparation alone can eliminate many boating issues.
Use the following tips to aid in your preparation:

· Be weather wise: Sudden wind shifts, lightning flashes and choppy water all can mean a storm is brewing. Bring a portable radio to check weather reports.

· Bring extra gear you may need: A flashlight, extra batteries, matches, a map of where you are, flares, sun tan lotion, and first aid kit. Put those that need to be protected in a watertight pouch or a container that floats.

· Tell someone where you’re going, who is with you, and how long you’ll be away.

· Then check your boat, equipment, boat balance, engine and fuel supply before leaving.

· Never drink alcoholic beverages on a boat. Being “tipsy” can result in falling overboard.

Your ability to swim safely or call for help is greatly reduced, as alcohol slows reactions.
Ashley Spalding is an advanced practice registered nurse who practices at Ephraim McDowell Springfield Family Medical Center.  She can be contacted at (859) 336-9801.