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Open Bodies of Water Require Extra Precautions

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Offers Tips for Staying Safe

August 27, 2013 – Cleveland, OH – Although school is back in session, summer temperatures have Clevelanders still seeking ways to cool off and enjoy the good weather. This weekend’s drowning tragedies are a harsh reminder that it’s never too late in the season to talk about water safety.

Proper precautions need to be taken around any body of water – from baby pools to the lake or ocean. One of the important things to keep in mind is that swimming in a lake, river or ocean is NOT the same as swimming in a pool. Swimming in open water is harder and people tire faster and get into trouble more quickly. Murky water, changes in current, sudden drop-offs and depth changes make open bodies of water extremely dangerous for those who can’t swim and can create problems even for those who can swim. In order to enjoy Lake Erie and other open waters safely, follow these tips:

  • Know your limits – If you are not a good swimmer don’t go in water over your head, even to help another swimmer in distress. Children who cannot swim should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and around water.
  • Swim with a buddy – Never swim alone; even experienced swimmers can get tired or get a cramp and wind up in trouble.
  • Keep children within arms length – Active supervision of children in water is key. Give children your undivided attention and stay close enough that you can grab them if they get in trouble. Supervise children at all times, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Swim only in designated areas – Heed warnings about no swimming, water pollution levels, and other dangers. Only swim where there is a lifeguard.
  • Know what to do and teach children what to do if caught in a rip current – If you feel a current pulling you out to sea, remain calm and swim parallel to the shore until you feel the pull stop. Never try to swim directly into a rip current.
  • Take a first aid or CPR course — Learn and practice the basic skills needed to assist in an emergency until first responders arrive.

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