Here are some tips for being safe at the beach or pool:
- Choose a beach or pool where there is a lifeguard. Your chances of drowning at a location where there is no guard are five times higher, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association.
- Learn to swim, and have your kids take swimming lessons as well. Often you can find lessons through community education or local schools, held at local pools.
- Walk into the water if it is a new location for you. See if there are any drop-offs, and how soon the water becomes too deep for you to stand.
- Always jump into the water, feet first: don’t dive in head first. A neck injury can be very serious. You can jam your neck in such a way as to injure your spinal cord, causing paralysis that will be permanent. You can also hit your head hard enough to cause a brain injury.
- Wear old tennis shoes or water shoes if the bottom of the lake is ‘sticky’ or muddy so that you can get better traction.
- Alcohol obviously affects your judgment and reaction time, but did you know that it can also alter your body temperature? Check this out from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics:
Contrary to what is believed, alcohol may make you feel warmer but it actually lowers the temperature of the body. When alcohol enters the blood, it causes the blood vessels to widen. More blood flows to the skin's surface. The drinker's body temperature drops as the increased blood flow to the surface allows body heat to escape. People who drink alcohol in cold weather to get warm actually accomplish the opposite. Thus, if you hop into a lake to cool off when you have had alcohol, you will get even colder.
- Statistics at the Center for Disease Control show that of all drowning victims, 80% are male, and children ages 1 to 4 swimming in ‘kiddie’ pools at home make up 30% of all childhood accidental deaths.
For further data you can check out their website:
- Be sure to use life jackets when riding in a boat – Put Them On!
- Other toys to use in the water such as Fun Noodles, ‘water wings,’ and inflatable rafts are not a substitute for a life jacket. You can let your child play in the water wearing a life jacket, but don’t use that as an excuse to pay no attention. When it comes to playing in water, You should always be no more than an arm's length from your children.
- See if a lake near you is infested with Zebra mussels—or any number of other invasive species—at this website:
Did you know that quite a number of lakes in Anoka County are infested with Eurasian Milfoil?
- Wear sun block that is waterproof, and re-apply every 2 hours. Make sure the lotion is not past its expiration date. You need to apply approximately 1/4 cup of sunblock in order for it to be effective.