Summer Fun, Summer Safety!
Now that school is over and summer has arrived, families frequently are looking for outdoor activities. The American Red Cross would like to encourage people to be safe and have summer by following these Save-a-Life Summer tips!
Water Safety Tips
- Learn to swim. You local Red Cross chapter offers swimming courses for all ages. Click here to register for a class. Never swim alone and swim only in supervised areas. Obey “No Diving” signs.
- Outfit everyone with the proper gear. Use U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) in and around the water, especially when boating.
- Always observe children near water and practice “reach supervision” for young children: stay within arm’s length of a child in case an emergency arises.
- Watch out for the dangerous “too’s.” Take a break at the point of being too tired, too cold, or too far from safety, too much sun, too little hydration, too much strenuous activity.
- Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination; it affects your swimming and diving skills; and it reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
- Learn Red Cross first aid and CPR. While safety tips can help prevent emergencies, it is important to know what to do if a situation arises. All caregivers (grandparents, older siblings, babysitters) should have these life-saving skills. Click here for information on class schedules and locations.
- Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts; stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Basic Water Safety at the Pool
Implement these lifesaving Layers of Safety:
- Supervise children at all times.
- Create a barrier between the home and the pool with self-closing, self-locking gate.
- Install pool alarms.
- Children should take swimming lessons and adults should undergo CPR training.
- Maintain basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it: First aid kid with plastic face shields to prevent disease transmission; cellphone, to be used only for emergencies, to avoid leaving the scene; a list of emergency numbers and CPR instructions; reaching pole and ring buoy with line attached.
- Post pool rules (hours the pool is open, diving instructions) and enforce them.
- Establish an emergency action plan for potential pool emergencies and practice them with drills.
- Enclose the pool on all four sides with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. The fence should be at least 4 ft. high, with no footholds that would allow a child to climb over or spacing to climb through.
- Keep the pool properly maintained and treated. Keep chemicals in a locked cabinet.
Basic Water Safety at the Lake
- Pack a “safety” bag for a day at the lake.
- Check weather conditions before entering the water.
- Approach the water with caution.
- Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of the lifeguard.
- Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.
- Make sure to always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- If caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it, swim across it.
- Protect the skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear water-proof sunscreen with SPF of at least 15. Apply 15 to 30 minutes before exposure to the sun; reapply often, especially after swimming.
- Certain medications can increase sensitivity to the sun. Check with a physician or pharmacist before planning outdoor activities.
Heat Stroke Prevention
- Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing that will reflect some of the sun’s energy. It’s also a good idea to wear hats or use an umbrella.
- Drink lots of water. Carry water or juice and drink continuously, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
- Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
- Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest period of the day (usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.).
- Take regular breaks when you are engaged in physical activity on warm days. Take time out to find a cool place. If you recognize that you are showing signs of a heat-related illness, stop activity and find a cool place.
- Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.