Tips for Safe Summertime Swimming
For many people, summertime and swimming go hand in hand. Children finish the school year dreaming of long summer days swimming in the pool, lake, or ocean. Many adults also enjoy swimming both for exercise and recreational relaxation. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy other water-related activities like rafting, canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating.
But as enjoyable as the water can be, it also brings great danger. A swimmer can find him- or herself in distress in the blink of an eye. Small children and infants can drown in only inches of water. Therefore, it’s imperative to exercise safety precautions when swimming and enjoying the water. We will share some tips for safe summertime swimming in this article.
Appreciating the Risks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), internationally more than 40 people drown every hour. In the United States, from 2005 to 2014, 3,536 people drowned on average per year. That’s almost ten unintentional drownings per day. Twenty percent of American drownings are children below the age of 15. Drowning is the second most common cause of death for children in that age range. For children 1 to 4 years of age, only birth defects cause more deaths than drowning. Almost 80 percent of those who die from drowning are male.
Further, many people sustain water-related injuries and do not die, but suffer long-term complications such as brain damage, learning disabilities, memory problems, and other permanent losses. Many of these deaths and injuries are preventable.
Swimming Safety Tips
Below are some tips to help keep all swimmers safer:
- Take swimming lessons. Better swimming skills can help people of any age stay safer, but are especially important for children. Research shows that formal swimming lessons reduce the chances of drowning for children 1 to 4 years of age.
- Swim in areas protected by lifeguards. Lifeguards can improve safety anywhere. The United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), which focuses on beach lifeguards, concludes that the chance of drowning while swimming at a beach protected by USLA-trained lifeguards is 1 in 18 million. The organization’s statistics suggest that in 2017, approximately 88 percent of beach drownings occurred at unguarded beaches.
- Don’t dive into shallow water or unknown water. This is important to prevent spinal injuries.
- Require the use of life jackets on or in natural water like oceans and lakes. This includes while boating and participating in other water-related activities. Life jackets can be used in pools by weak or poor swimmers. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that 88 percent of those who drowned in a boating accident in 2010 were not wearing life jackets.
- Supervise children closely at all times around or in any water.
- If you own a pool, make sure to maintain appropriate barriers (fences, etc.) to prevent unsupervised children from entering the pool intentionally or falling in unintentionally.
- Eliminate alcohol use. It adversely affects coordination, balance, and judgment.
- Do not swim alone – always swim with a buddy.
- Learn life-saving techniques, first aid, and CPR.
- When swimming, stay clear of boats and other dangerous watercraft.
Call with Questions
Oregon residents are blessed to have a wide array of water-related activities available for fun and exercise. It’s our hope that everyone takes appropriate precautions to remain safe. Unfortunately, on occasion things go wrong. If you or a loved one has suffered a boating or swimming accident, or has been injured in any other water-related activity, you may be entitled to recover for your personal injuries and other damages. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield would be happy to answer any questions you have.