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The Ultimate Water Guide to a Worry-Free Summer

As we near some of the hottest days of summer, Harbin Clinic wants to remind Northwest GA to enjoy the water but to prepare for water safety first. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children. Holidays are a blast, but sometimes chaotic. This summer, keep these safety tips in mind as you splash and play:

BEFORE GATHERING:

  • Ask about guests’ water skills – Talk with your guests about their swimming abilities. An adequate swimmer can: enter the water safely, take a breath, float, move around and swim a distance, then get out of the water safely. Find out if guests have had swimming lessons and how confident they feel in the water. Use this set of skills to determine a swimmer’s level.
  • Have personal flotation devices (PFDs) – Georgia law requires that all children under 13 years of age wear a USCG-approved PFD while on board any moving vessel. Make sure you have at least 1 available for every adult as well.
  • Set up barriers – Have fences and gates that can lock around the pool so no one gets in the water without supervision.
  • Know the conditions – If you are swimming in a lake, river or pool, find out about depth changes, tides, and water cleanliness. Check CRBI Swim Guide!
  • Establish clear boundaries to share with guests such as, “Never swim alone. Always swim sober. No running, no jumping, no diving.”
  • Know what to do in an emergency – Have a plan and supplies at the ready.

AT THE CELEBRATION:

  • Check swimmer abilities again – Plans change. Make sure you know who might need extra help in the water.
  • Assign a Water-Watcher – If you do not have a lifeguard, especially if you have small children, establish an adult “water-watcher” and take turns. Some people even make special bracelets that must be passed as water-watchers change responsibility. It is easy to assume another adult is watching. Clearly communicate (count heads/never be on the phone).
  • Enter water feet first – Not in a pool? When you can’t see the bottom or don’t know the depth, always get in the water feet first!
  • Lock Barriers – Has your family headed to the grill, inside or to the front yard? Now that barriers are in place, make sure they are locked with toys put away. One of the most common drowning scenarios is a young child gets access to a pool area and falls in trying to get a toy when no one is watching.

And don’t forget, HAVE FUN! There are so many benefits to playing outside and in the water. That’s why we’ve been “prescribing outside” all summer. Enjoy your long holiday weekend, and stay safe!

Published June 30, 2022