Summer Water Safety Tips from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care

summer-water-safetySummer is fast approaching, and most families with young children will try to beat the heat by cooling off in the water at some point during the season. An afternoon at the beach, lake, or pool is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones. However, it’s important to remember that along with the enjoyment come some risks. To help keep your family safe, the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care offer the following water safety guidelines to keep in mind as you splash around in the pool or romp in the surf:

  • Learn to swim well – Instruction is available for people of all ages (it’s never too late!), and knowing how to swim is essential for anyone who spends time in or near the water. Consider a training course in CPR and basic life-saving skills as well.

  • Never swim alone – Whether you’re in a backyard kiddie pool or the Gulf of Mexico, always swim with a buddy. Even good swimmers can get tired and suffer muscle cramps, which can make it difficult to get out of the water, so it’s important to have someone available to assist or seek help if necessary.

  • Swim only in safe areas – It’s best to swim under the supervision of a lifeguard who is trained in rescue techniques. Some dangers, such as changing currents, riptides, and bad weather, are unpredictable.

  • Don’t try to swim against a current – If you feel yourself being drawn out to sea, don’t panic. Instead, swim parallel to the coast until you feel the pull subside, then return to the shore.

  • Wear a life jacket – Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear appropriately sized U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are around water. Inflatable swimming aids are not a substitute and should be avoided because they can provide a false sense of security.

  • Always keep children within an arm’s reach – Children must be constantly and actively supervised by an adult when around water, even if they are wearing life jackets, and even if there is a lifeguard on duty. Consider having a responsible adult serve as the designated “Water Watcher” at all times.

  • If you lose sight of a child, check the water first – A child can drown in as little as one inch of water, and every second counts.

  • Keep emergency equipment nearby – Have a first aid kit and a phone readily available for emergencies – but don’t allow the phone to distract you from supervising children.

  • Remember to stay hydrated – Even when surrounded by water, it’s easy to get dehydrated in the Florida heat, so be sure to drink plenty of water.

In the United States, drowning ranks among the leading causes of death in children under the age of 14. Taking basic aquatic safety and drowning prevention measures like these are your best line of defense. Our online series of health articles include more tips for keeping your family safe during the summer, and the rest of the year as well. If you would like further information, feel free to contact or come see a Tampa doctor at the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.