Swimming Safety Tips  

by Pool Builders on 04-22-2010 in Articles

In the United States, nine people drown every day. Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14. Despite these sobering facts, swimming is and will remain one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities out there. On a hot July day, the type of day when your spit sizzles when it hits the sidewalk, nothing can beat a cool, refreshing swim. However, it is vital that you keep safety first when swimming, so this article will show you how to stay safe while swimming.

Some people advise that you stay away from swimming in natural water (meaning lakes, rivers, ponds, and other watery environments) because they are more dangerous than swimming pools, but with a little bit of extra care a natural swimming area can be every bit as safe as an artificial one.

The main problem with these outdoor swimming holes is the lack of proper adult supervision: pretty much every public swimming pool has a lifeguard, and usually several, but all too often natural water areas have no supervision at all. That is why it is vital to make sure that there is always an adult present when small children are swimming. Even when older people are in the water, it is a good idea to have someone watching just in case a swimmer needs help. When you are swimming and having a good time, it is hard to be aware of everyone else around you, so do not count on being able to help someone if they need it.

The lifeguard needs to be a good swimmer and ideally to be aware of basic lifesaving techniques as well. The lifeguard also needs to be positioned somewhere where they can see and hear everything in the swim area. Another major concern is the safety of the swimming area. Especially if people are jumping into the water from a bank or a platform, you need to be absolutely certain that there are no submerged rocks or trees where people are landing in the water.

You can designate a specific area for people to jump and check only that area, or you can check the entire swimming area. In a lake or pond, this is not too difficult, but in a river, which is constantly flowing, you have both more debris to worry about and a constantly shifting river bottom to factor in. Make sure to re-check the river after big storm just to make sure that something has not been washed into your area.

You also need to make sure that everyone swimming knows what they are doing or has a life preserver, and you can even assign pairs of people to be buddies and keep track of each other. Really, though, if you just make sure that your swimmers are being supervised and provide a safe swim area, 90% of your problems will be solved, and you will be able to enjoy swimming in peace all summer long.

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