Summer is a great time to enjoy the pool, beach or waterpark. No matter where you’re headed, it’s a good idea to learn about swimming safety and share it with your family before going near the water. Following a few of these safety tips can help keep you and your family safe.
Adult supervision can help to prevent accidents from happening. An adult should always be within arm’s reach of a child in case of an emergency. When an adult is present, they can monitor the way that children are playing around water. If children are running near a pool, the adult can tell them to slow down and if a child happens to be struggling to swim, an adult can help pull them out.
Not only should you be supervising children near water, but you should be actively supervising. This means that you should be watching and nothing else. It can be easy to get distracted or lose focus while monitoring children play, this loss of focus could allow enough time for an accident to happen. Don’t try to multitask when monitoring a child at the pool. Consuming alcoholic beverages and even cooking on the grill can take your focus off of supervising.
Infants, toddlers, and small children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Having more than one adult present to supervise children can help prevent lapses in supervision.
Educate children about swim safety. Teach your little ones how to behave when near water. Simply telling them they need to walk and not run while next to a pool can prevent them from slipping and falling next to or into the water. Slipping by the pool or at a waterpark could cause injury to extremities, concussions, and falling into the water which can lead to possible drowning.
You can enroll them in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. This will allow them to learn how to tread water, float, and stay near the shore at a beach. They should only swim in areas that are designated for swimming. Go over beach safety by teaching children about uneven surfaces, currents, ocean undertow and swimming parallel to the shore if caught in a current.
Learning CPR can come in handy when an accident occurs. You will most likely be the first one on the scene and can help right away by utilizing CPR. Check with your local hospitals, fire departments and park districts to see if they offer CPR training.
Make your backyard pool safe by taking extra steps. Fencing off and gating your pool will help to keep kids from wandering into the pool when unsupervised. It is recommended that the fence is as least four feet high, four-sided and has a self-closing, self-latching gate.
If you’re using an inflatable or portable pool, remember to empty it immediately after use and store them upside down and out of reach.
Have a cast this summer? It may be tempting to go swimming and not miss out on summer fun, but if a cast gets wet, it will need to be taken off and reapplied, meaning another visit to the doctor.
The best way to prevent a cast from needing to be reapplied is simple–don’t go into the water. Leon Benson, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute (IBJI), knows a lot about casting material and what happens to that material when it gets soaked with water.
“Cast padding is the layer that goes directly on the arm so that the plaster or fiberglass doesn’t irritate the skin,” Benson continues, “The cast padding is not waterproof, whether it is made from cotton or polyester.”
Benson says, “When a fiberglass cast gets soaked, the cast padding absorbs the water like a sponge; even though the outer fiberglass shell can be dried, the underlying cast padding is like a thick, wet carpet.”
The only solution to a wet cast is to remove it entirely, dry the arm or leg and start all over again.
If you’re planning on being near water during summer, make sure you and your family know how to stay safe to help prevent injuries and accidents from occurring.
Leon Benson, MD, is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute with Fellowship Training in Hand and Upper Extremity.
Jack Pyde is a Marketing Specialist at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute.
Leon Benson, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon with Fellowship Training in Hand and Upper Extremity, Illinois Bone & Joint Institute