Swimming is the most popular summer pastime for kids, and with a little knowledge, most of these injuries can be prevented.
Here are some things to keep in mind as the summer approaches:
• Make sure your child knows how to swim before letting him or her in the water. Inexperienced swimmers should wear lifejackets in the water.
• Tired, cold, or overheated people should stay out of the water! Cold or tired muscles are more prone to injury. In fact, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to do some jumping jacks, some stretching, or some brisk walking before getting in the pool.
• Swim in a pool only if you can see the bottom at the deepest point.
• The golden rule about swimming is the Buddy Rule. Never swim alone. Swim in supervised areas where lifeguards are present.
• Never dive into shallow water.
• Many diving injuries occur after people went headfirst into water which was shallow, too murky to see objects, or crowded with other swimmers.
• Dive only off the end of a diving board. Do not run on the board, try to dive far out, or bounce more than once. Swim away from the board immediately after the dive, to allow room for the next diver. Make sure there is only one person on the board at a time.
Swimming in open water
• When swimming in open water, make sure the water is free of undercurrents and other hazards.
• Do not swim in a lake or river after a storm. If the water is rising or if there is flooding, currents may become strong. The clarity and depth of the water may have changed, and new hazards may be present.
• Check weather reports to avoid being in the water during storms, fog, or high winds. Remember that water conducts electricity.
• Never run into waves headfirst.
Finally, a tip not so much for the children but for their parents: alcohol and water don't mix. Alcohol affects not only judgment, but it slows movement and impairs vision. If your child is swimming and you are supervising, you should not be drinking alcohol.