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Summer swimming safety tips

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

It goes without saying that swimming is a summertime favorite activity, but unfortunately, swimming also can result in unintentional injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day about ten people die from unintentional drowning. In fact, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.

So what has research found when it comes to preventing unintentional drowning?

Formal swim lessons do prevent injury. A 2009 report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows swim lessons did reduce the risk of drowning among children ages 1 to 4 years.

Seconds count so learn CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed within minutes by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes. The more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of survival.

Life jackets can reduce risk. According to a study in the Injury Prevention, half of all boating deaths might be prevented by the use of life jackets.

Life jackets aren't the only safety devices. The use of four-sided fencing that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard is an excellent way to prevent children or pets from accessing a pool area unsupervised.

Other safety tips include:

Supervise when in or around water. Designate a responsible adult to watch all children swimming or playing near water.

Use the buddy system. Never swim alone.

Learn to swim.

Air-filled or foam toys are not safety devices. Use life jackets.

Avoid alcohol before and during any water activity or while supervising children.

Know the weather conditions and forecast before you swim or boat.

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one: to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthyhabits2013.