Spring break is a busy time when many of us head to a warmer destination where we spend most of our days soaking up the sun and staying cool by the water. Spring break is meant to be an enjoyable time, but it can also be quite dangerous, especially, when it comes to water activities.
Michelle Fanucchi, chair in the department of environmental health sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said, “Families seem to be spending time around water this time of year, so it is important to remind ourselves of the basics of water safety. It is easy to become complacent when it comes to water safety. Being aware of the dangers of water and reminding our children of basic guidelines may help prevent an accident from occurring.”
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S., especially among those aged one to four. Parents and guardians should never let children out of their site when they are near water, regardless of whether it is a pool or beach.
“Most recreational swimming areas do not have a lifeguard on duty. It’s easy to think that someone else is watching, so selecting an adult to be the designated lifeguard ensures the children are being watched at all times,” added Fanucchi.
Children – and adults – should learn how to swim, and when on a boat all persons should be equipped with a life jacket.
When swimming in the ocean, you should be aware of riptides and know how to escape them. You should not try to swim against the current as that will merely tire you out. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the riptide.
If you are not a strong swimmer or are not confident in your abilities, try to stay as close to the shore as possible, where the water is shallow. Lastly, don’t drink and swim or drink and operate a boat (motorized or nonmotorized) as you will have even less control of any dangerous situation.