Aspirus provides tips to prevent drowning, promote water safety

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – As summer temperatures rise, swimming pools, lakes and beaches become popular destinations for individuals seeking relief from the heat.

While swimming is an enjoyable and refreshing activity, Aspirus Health is reminding the public that it is important to be aware of the potential risk of drowning.

Aspirus said drowning is a silent epidemic that claims thousands of lives each year worldwide, with children and young adults being the most vulnerable.

“In the United States alone, drowning remains the leading cause of unintentional death for children aged one to four years, and the second leading cause for those aged five to 14 years,” Aspirus stated. “Adult drowning incidents often occur due to the failure to use life jackets during water activities, especially while boating, in addition to alcohol consumption and swimming in hazardous areas.”

Tabin. Photo courtesy of Aspirus

“Anyone can drown, regardless of age or swimming level,” said Amanda Tabin, Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Coordinator at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. “People often overestimate their swimming ability and find themselves in risky situations. No matter the age or skill level, everyone should practice safety measures in and around water.”

Aspirus provided the following preventive measures to keep in mind while enjoying summer water activities:

Supervision: The presence of a responsible adult is non-negotiable whenever children or inexperienced swimmers are near water. Drowning incidents can occur in mere seconds, making constant vigilance the primary safeguard against tragedies.

“Parents and guardians must not only be present, but also physically and mentally alert when a child is in or around a body of water,” Tabin said. “Drowning is silent and can happen very quickly. There can be very little splashing, waving or screaming. Once someone begins to struggle, you may have less than a minute to react.”

Swimming education: Enrolling children and adults in swimming lessons is an investment in safety. Basic swimming skills can provide individuals with the confidence to handle themselves in water and increase their chances of survival during unexpected circumstances.

Life jackets and floatation devices: Whenever engaging in water activities such as boating, kayaking or water boarding, always wear approved life jackets or floatation devices. These simple pieces of equipment can make all the difference in a critical situation.

Educating about water hazards: It’s essential to educate individuals about the dangers associated with specific water bodies, such as strong currents, undertows and sudden drop-offs. Knowing how to identify and avoid hazardous areas can prevent accidents.

CPR training: Learn CPR to aid in life threatening drowning incidents. Having people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) within the vicinity of aquatic facilities or activities can significantly increase the chances of survival.

“If you see someone drowning, immediately call for help or alert someone nearby to call 911,” Tabin stated. “Do not enter the water if you are not trained in water rescue. Try to reach or throw a floating object to the person to help them stay afloat until professional help arrives.”

“It is vital for individuals, families and communities to understand the risks associated with water activities and the necessity of adopting preventive measures,” Aspirus said. “By prioritizing water safety and promoting awareness, we can strive to reduce drowning incidents and ensure a safer and more enjoyable summer for everyone.”

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