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Published on July 12, 2012

Play it Safe When in the Water This Summer

Springfield, Pa.-- Summer is in full swing, bringing with it fun in the sun and even more excitement in the water. During the sweltering summer months, visiting the pool or traveling to the Jersey Shore for “water action” can be the highlight of any summer. Surfing the waves of the ocean, setting sail on the family boat, or just taking a casual swim at the pool; what’s not to love? However, with water activity comes increased risk for injury and accidents. Practicing water safety at all times is crucial, especially during the warmer months.

Swimming pools and the ocean are usually happy places. Unfortunately, many American families experience water-related tragedies every year. Accidents can occur in the blink of an eye, and being aware of how to keep safe in the water is an absolute must. Whether you have children, or are just an adventurous person, some key tips to always keep in mind when venturing out into the water include:

  • Supervising children
  • Wearing a life jacket if you are not a strong swimmer
  • Never goinging out swimming or diving alone
  • Notifying someone with your whereabouts
  • Applying sunscreen and reapplying after periods of water activity
  • Avoiding alcoholic beverages; drink plenty of water instead

Not all water injuries or tragedies occur when there is a boat present or during water sports activities. In the time it takes to answer a phone, a loved one can go under the water and potentially drown. Whether you are at a community or backyard pool, it is imperative to practice safety precautions:

  • Do you and your children know how to swim?
  • Is there a lifeguard on duty and are you watching your child when in or near the water?
  • Are there safety rules posted visibly?
  • Is there lifesaving equipment like tubes or a reaching pole?
  • Most importantly, lifeguards are not babysitters. They are there to help prevent and to assist in the act of an emergency event. You are responsible for your children at all times.

Being out in the sun and playing in the water has its perks, but it also has some pitfalls. “Children always need to be supervised, and alcohol and swimming is a bad combination that only leads to a much higher likelihood of a bad accident,” states Bruce Nisbet M.D., chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “Experience plays an important role when participating in vigorous water activities in the ocean. Never undertake such activities alone.”

Along with taking the best safety precautions, many people do not apply sunscreen. Skipping this protective measure can not only cause a quick and painful sunburn, but it also can increase the possibility of skin cancer later in life. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable.

Summer is the perfect time to relax, unwind and have some good old-fashioned fun. It is important to remember that as quick as the fun starts, it can just as quickly end with a trip to the Emergency Room. Practicing proper safety precautions will ensure that outdoor and water activities will be fun and memorable.

Visit Our Safe Summer Resource Center

Find more information, including links to physician videos, additional articles and quizzes in our Safe Summer Resource Center.

For more information on emergency services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, call 1-800-254-3258 or visit http://er3.crozerkeystone.org.

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Grant Gegwich, Vice President

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Kate Stier,  Director

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Springfield Hospital

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Kate Stier,  Director

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Pager: 610-541-3130

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