Story by: Alexis Messmer on May 27, 2016
All around the River City, Memorial Day weekend marks the start of a season full of boating, swimming and many other popular water activities.
While they are fun, they also can be hazardous. Follow these tips to prevent water-related injuries.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4. Three children die every day as a result of drowning.
•Children should never swim alone. Teach them to use the buddy system so that there’s always someone looking out for them.
•At least one adult should supervise children around water at all times. Don’t let yourself get distracted by talking with friends, reading, drinking alcohol or using your phone when it’s your turn to supervise.
•If you own a pool, make sure it has a fence completely surrounding it, separating it from the house.
•Teach children life-saving skills, such as how to float on their back, tread water and move to the side of the pool to climb out.
•Adult supervisors should be trained in CPR.
Keep in mind that bacteria and viruses might be lurking in lakes and rivers, as well as in pool water that isn’t properly maintained. Some of these germs can make you sick.
Don’t swim in water that looks discolored, murky or smells unpleasant. Those are signs to stay away. After swimming, wading, fishing or boating in a river, stream or creek, take a shower as soon as possible afterward.
Kids and adults with diarrhea, vomiting, open wounds or infections should stay out of the water.
To be extra safe, take the time to visit the websites of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection and the Kentucky Division of Water for advisories before swimming in any local river, stream or creek.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, in 2011, 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of them, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.
•Set a good example. Kids learn best by following your lead, so be sure to always wear a life jacket and practice safe boating habits.
•Children must wear life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while they are on boats, around an open body of water and participating in water sports.
•Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have kids make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits a child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
•Most boating accidents, particularly among teens, are related to alcohol. When you and your family are boating, assign a designated driver who won’t drink. Be sure teens know about the dangers of alcohol, on and off the water.
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