Keep water injuries ‘at bay’ by following these safety tips.
One of the best ways to cool down and be active in the summertime is to spend time in the water. Water sports and activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, tubing, and boating provide summer fun for the whole family. Unfortunately, most sports and activities year-round come with some risks of injuries. No need to worry; by following some basic safety tips, you can be proactive and prevent water injuries before they happen.
- Use the buddy system. Using the buddy system whenever you participate in water sports or go for a swim is one of the best ways to prevent serious water injuries. Bringing a friend along to stay nearby can ensure that you have someone to help you in case of an accident. If you must go out alone, always let someone know where you’re going, and wear a life jacket.
- Know your limits. Swimming while you’re tired can be devastating. Pushing your body far beyond your limits can cause muscle and joint pain inhibiting your ability to swim to safety. Avoid going out into deep waters far from shore without a life jacket. A life jacket will keep you afloat if you get stranded in the water.
- Never leave children unsupervised. It is always best to assume that no child is ever safe around a pool or body of water alone. It’s essential to always keep children under adult supervision when swimming in and playing near water. Installing enclosures, fences, and alarms around swimming pool areas can significantly reduce the risk of water injuries in children.
- Wear proper safety gear. Life preservers, non-slip water shoes, goggles and even helmets may be necessary when participating in certain water activities. Wearing proper protective gear can prevent drowning, slips, falls, head injuries, and other water injuries.
- Beware of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae is a bacterium found in some bodies of water across Ontario. It’s incredibly toxic and harmful to humans and animals, so it’s crucial to stay vigilant. Blue-green algae can make the water look bluish-green or turquoise and may form in clumps or resemble paint.
- Enjoy alcohol responsibly or stay sober. Many water injuries are a result of intoxication. Drink responsibly or stay sober, and never operate a boat if you’re intoxicated.
- Be aware of your surroundings. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, it’s always crucial to remain aware of your surroundings and check weather conditions. Keep an eye out for boats, jet skis, and other people at all times. Double-check your position on equipment, practice proper form and ensure that you’re in a safe, designated body of water for the activities you partake in.
- Become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Knowing CPR can save someone’s life and can help to stabilize them until help arrives. Consider taking a course to become certified or re-certified, or take some time to brush up on your knowledge if you’re already certified.
- Seek help for water injuries immediately. If you or someone you know sustains a water injury, it’s crucial to treat the injury immediately and call 911. Water injuries can be severe and devastating, but they’re also preventable. Practice these safety tips, be responsible, and stay alert. You’ll be doing everything in your power to keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe.