Summer is Coming and it's Time to Hit the Water!
By Dr. Doug Cobble, Greeneville Pediatrics
Summer and hot sunny days lures us all to the water. With a few precautions, these days are memorable and enjoyable. Water has its hazards, and a few precautions always need to be taken. Drowning is always a risk, especially in young children and teenagers.
- Life jackets should always be utilized when around bodies of water. Arm floats are not life jackets. Types of life jackets for different water sports should be correctly chosen and fitted properly. These jackets should be US coast guard approved.
- No swimming alone, and all small children should be actively supervised. Those children with medical illnesses like seizures, heart disease, and diabetes, etc. always require close supervision.
- Always be aware of potential hazards, like water undertows currents, sharks, swift currents, shallow water-a danger for diving, etc. Take seriously and abide all posted warnings.
- Swimming lessons by qualified instructors are a must for all children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children as young as one year of age can benefit from qualified water instructions, but swimming lessons do not eliminate the need for life jackets and supervision.
- Water safety and boating courses should be taken by teenagers and adults who operate jet skis and boats. These courses are inexpensive and fun to take. A little knowledge goes a long way in water safety.
- Lightning kills, so when thunder is audible, seek appropriate shelter. Even though the sun may be bright, thunder means that risk of lightning strike is still present.
- Sun and water predisposes to dehydration. Water intake on a regular basis is important to prevent dehydration and heat-related illness.
- Sunscreen use is a must. Proper application before and frequent reapplication with swimming, etc. helps prevent painful sunburns. Sun shirts that are sunscreen rated are good choices in addition to sunscreens.
- Proper eye protection is necessary to prevent long term damage to the eyes. Water intensifies light reflection so everyone needs sunglasses and or protective headwear that help protect the eyes.
- Protective water shoes worn around and in open bodies of water helps protect from cuts and other foot injuries.
- No swimming within 100 feet around docks and marinas that have electricity because electrocution is a possibility.
Dr. Douglas Cobble is a pediatrician at Greeneville Pediatrics in Greeneville, TN. Schedule an appointment by calling (423) 787-6050 or visit their website at www.greenevillepeds.com