House Call: Water Safety
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In the third part of our five part series, Summer Safety for Kids, Dr. John Backus, Director of Emergency Medicine Operations at UHC, joins us to talk about summer safety tips and ways to keep children safe and healthy while enjoying their summer.
1. What should parents or guardians do to ensure safety?
Drownings rank fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States. It is important to:
- Supervise children when in or around water, and a responsible adult should be present while constantly watching children swim,
- Teach kids how to swim-formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning,
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and
- Install a four-sided fence around your home pool.
- Take a friend along even though you may be a good swimmer, you never know when you may need help. Having friends around is safer and just more fun!
- Know your limits and watch out for the “too’s” — too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much hard activity.
- DO wear a life jacket when boating, jet skiing, water skiing, rafting, or fishing.
2. When it comes to water safety, what shouldn’t we do?
You want to make certain that you…
- Do not ignore the currents. Water currents can change quickly! If you get caught in a strong current, don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you have passed through it. Near piers, jetties (lines of big rocks), small dams, and docks, the current gets unpredictable and could knock you around. If you find it hard to move around, head to shore. Learn to recognize and watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents — water that is a weird color, really choppy, foamy, or filled with debris.
- Do not ignore weather signs. If you spot bad weather (dark clouds, lighting), pack up and take the fun inside.
- DO not mess around in the water. Pushing or dunking your friends can get easily out of hand.
- DO not dive into shallow water. If you don’t know how deep the water is, then refrain from diving in what could potentially be shallow water.
3. Being in or near water can also result in Recreation Water Illnesses or RWI. What is RWI and why should we be so concerned?
Recreational water illnesses are diseases that people can get from the water they swim and play in—like pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds, oceans, lakes, and rivers. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, skin rashes, ear pain, cough or congestion, and eye pain. Swallowing just a mouthful of water that contains diarrhea-causing germs can make you sick. You can also get sick from other contact with water contaminated with germs, such as breathing its mist. We all share the water we swim in, and we each need to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends safe.
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