Water Safety: Advice to Prevent Drowning

Expert advice to enjoy the water this holiday
children by water's edge

When it’s hot, we run for water, craving a cool swim or time on a boat. Every Fourth of July, beaches fill with people and sailboat masts dot the horizon.

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But along with water, comes drowning, the second leading cause of accidental deaths for people 15 to 44 years old. Sadly, most people drown within 10 to 30 feet of safety.

Emergency room physician Tom Tallman, DO, says there is one thing almost everyone should know before getting in the water.

“Everybody should know basic CPR because when someone has had a water-related injury, resuscitation can be rather simple,” he says.

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Minimize the risk of drowning

  • Don’t swim alone
  • Don’t dive into a lake or river because water levels fluctuate
  • Ask children and non-swimmers to wear a life jacket
  • Don’t overestimate your swimming ability

Also, if you’re planning to spend your holiday by the pool, Dr. Tallman has advice for parents.

“When parents are taking young children to swimming pools, they shouldn’t rely on lifeguards. Parents still need to keep an eye on their kids and watch them very carefully,” Dr. Tallman says.

Boaters should also be on high alert. Coast Guard researchers say drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating deaths last year, and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.  

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If you take some precautions, no reason you can’t have fun and stay safe this holiday.

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