It is summertime and kids love to spend time by the water. Whether they are in your backyard pool or by the beach, it is important brush up on water safety. Nancy Edmonds, the national spokesperson on Health and Safety of the Red Cross, shares tips with The Early Show for staying safe when getting wet.
Did you know it only takes an inch of water for your child to drown? Summer is a popular time for recreational water sports and just simply hanging out by the water. This is an important time for parents to remember basic water safety rules. These rules vary depending on if you are spending time by a pool, beach, ocean, or boating on a lake.
General Water Safety
The first rule is: learn to swim! This is the best way to be safe in and around water. Always swim with a buddy -- never swim alone.
Swim in supervised areas and observe all rules and posted signs.
Watch out for the "dangerous too's" -- too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
Do not mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol will impair your judgement, balance, and coordination -- which risks your safety.
Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Make sure you have proper water safety tools: life vests, rope, and a reaching pole.
Here are some additional rules to consider depending on your water environment
Hanging Out By The Backyard Pool
Parents, don't rely on arm floaties or rafts -- these devices could suddenly shift position, lose air or slip out from underneath the child.
Keep water toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Just having a raft in the pool can attract a child into the pool.
Install a phone or make sure you have a cordless phone by the pool in case of emergencies.
Make should the pool cover is completely removed prior to pool use to prevent children being trapped.
Enclose the pool with a self-locking, self-closing fence.
On The Beach And By The Ocean
ALWAYS check the surf conditions before you enter the water.
STAY within designated swimming area -- within visibility of the lifeguard.
Out Of Water Safety
There are some precautions you should take while you're drying off on the sandy beach after an ocean swim. These precautions will help prevent trouble in the ocean water.
Protect your skin by wearing plenty of sunscreen. Remember that you need to reapply frequently especially b/c you're in the water.
Drink plenty of water. This is common for people to forget -- b/c playing in the water keeps them cool -- people don't think about drinking b/c they aren't hot or thirsty yet. Your body in fact needs water BEFORE you feel thirsty. You want to avoid dehydration -- so avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Nancy Edmonds based at the National Headquarters for the Red Cross in Washington, D.C. Nancy has been involved as a volunteer and safety instructor for the American Red Cross for over 20 years. She is currently certified as a lifeguard instructor, water safety instructor, and EMT.