• Swimming:

Swimming is a life skill that everyone should have. But there is more to it than just knowing basic swimming skills. It’s about being water competent. There’s a serious lifeguard shortage in the United States right now, and drownings are becoming more common. But water safety experts say there’s plenty you can do to minimize the risks involved in going for a swim.

Swimming, in recreation and sports, the propulsion of the body through water by combined arm and leg motions and the natural flotation of the body. Swimming as an exercise is popular as an all-around body developer and is particularly useful in therapy and as exercise for physically handicapped persons. It is also taught for lifesaving purposes.

  • Swimming Safety Tips:


  1. Before Heading to the Beach or a Public Pool, Do Your Research:

Many public pools and beaches will share lifeguard hours online and note if there isn’t one on duty. Check your destination’s details before heading out for a swim, and choose a site that’s guarded whenever possible, Fisher says.

If you do go to a spot without a lifeguard, it’s better to choose a pool or beach familiar to you, where you think even the weakest swimmers in your group can wade into the water safely.



  1. If There’s No Lifeguard on Duty, Pick the Pool Over the Ocean or Open Water:

Compared with the seaside or a lake, it’s easier to spot a swimmer in distress at a pool, Fisher says. And there will often be markers to indicate how deep the water is, so less-confident swimmers can stay where it’s shallow.

 “ This isn’t foolproof, but it removes a lot of unknowns that contribute to drownings, like the waves and currents and sudden dropoffs into deeper water that you can experience at the beach, Fisher says.

  1. Be Prepared for an Emergency Before You Hit the Water:

Look around to see what lifesaving equipment is available to use, such as a ring buoy or reaching pole, Ramos recommends. Know who in your group can do CPR, and who has a phone to call for help. The Red Cross has a Chain of Drowning Survival with step-by-step instructions for identifying and responding to a swimmer in distress — review this before you go to the pool or the beach.


  1. Pack Life Jackets in Your Beach or Pool Bag:

If you’re a non swimmer or a weak swimmer, wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to enter the water, no matter how calm or shallow conditions may appear, experts say. “Relying on any kind of non–U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device can lead to a false sense of security, and these items can fail or float away, leaving the person in trouble,” Ramos says.

  1. Don’t Count on Water Wings to Keep Kids Safe:

Parents need to know that lots of products pitched as aids for kids in the water really won’t help, says Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, the president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance and the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Water wings and pool noodles are toys — not drowning prevention devices,” Smith says. Especially in the ocean, the wind and current can carry kids offshore or lure kids into deeper water to chase a toy that got away from them. “Floatable toys should be used by those who are capable to be in areas of the water safely without them,” Ramos adds.


  1. Follow Any Posted Water Safety Rules:

Signs at most public pools and beaches will point you to designated swimming areas and warn you about specific dangers, whether it’s a pool too shallow for diving or an ocean beach with strong currents or riptides, says Ramos.

There’s a serious lifeguard shortage in the United States right now, and drownings are becoming more common. But water safety experts say there’s plenty you can do to minimize the risks involved in going for a swim.

  1. Don’t Dive — It’s Not Worth the Risk of Serious Injury

Even if this rule isn’t clearly posted on any signs, don’t enter the water headfirst even if you think you know the area, Ramos says. The risk of head, neck, and spinal cord injuries is just too great, and it’s always safer to jump in feet first or just walk into the water if that’s an option.

In the case of open water spaces, with currents and tides, the bottom will not be the same as the last time you used it, Ramos says.

  1. Appoint a Water Watcher:

This is a good idea all the time, but especially when there’s no lifeguard working. Appoint an adult to stay out of the water on the beach or the pool deck, keeping a close eye on everyone who is swimming at all times. This means no talking on the phone, no socializing, no drinking — just watching the swimmers as a responsible adult, Fisher says.

Water watchers can take turns, but when they’re on duty this is supposed to be their only focus. Although it may seem extreme for adults, the water watcher concept is still the best plan, Ramos adds.

  1. Use the Buddy System to Stay Safe in the Water:

Adults and teens: Swim in groups or pairs so no one is ever in the water alone, Smith advises.

For young children — especially kids who aren’t strong swimmers — their buddy should be an adult who is never more than an arm’s length away, Fisher says.

  • Know Your — and Your Kids’ — Limits, and Don’t Overdo It:

Don’t push yourself to the max to do more laps faster than you ever have before, or urge your child to master new skills like swimming the entire length of the pool on their own. And don’t push your limits just to show off or keep up with your friends and family. Be honest with yourself about your swimming ability and don’t feel pressure to hide it from others if it’s not up to the level of others you’re swimming with, Ramos says.

“Overextending yourself to keep up with others can lead to trouble.”

  • Look Before You Dive

Ensure that the water is not too shallow and there are no big rocks or sharp objects in the pool as you dive. Diving head first can cause a serious a head injury if the water is too shallow. Look for signboards if in a swimming pool and make sure that when you dive you have someone around you, just in case.



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Arooj OAC


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