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Stay Safe While Swimming

By Paul Rothbart

When the weather turns warm, people think of swimming. If you live someplace where it's always warm, perhaps you think of swimming every day. In the ocean, a lake, a pool, or your secret swimming hole, being in the water is great exercise, lots of fun, and a really good way to cool off. Like any other activity, swimming does have its hazards. Safety must always be exercised to ensure no one is injured or worse. Children must be monitored carefully as they are the most at risk. Here are some things to know before taking the plunge.

Safety for Children

Let's start with the little ones. Children are especially vulnerable to drowning and other water dangers. Never allow a child in or even near the water without adult supervision. A child can very quickly get into a precarious situation in which the adults lose sight. Eyes on at all times. Very young children should wear Coast Guard-approved life vests. This is a good idea for any poor swimmers regardless of age. If your family does regularly swim, have your children take swimming lessons from qualified instructors. The YMCA has excellent swim classes for all ages. 

General Safety

The buddy system is a time-tested way to keep swimming safe. Swimming alone is never a good idea. All it takes is a cramp or some kind of mishap to put you in a dangerous situation with no one to help. Stay smart and stay together. Be mindful of designated swimming areas. They are marked for your safety. Swimming in closed off sections is perilous. Follow the direction of the lifeguards. If swimming in a private area without lifeguards, keep safety equipment handy. Life preservers with a rope attached are essential in an emergency. Life jackets should also be kept close by. At least one person should have a cell phone in case the need to call for help arises. Sunburn is a hazard for any activity. You can burn in the water. Use an approved sunscreen and remember to reapply after getting out of the water. 

Ocean Safety

Swimming in the ocean can be exhilarating but it carries its own unique dangers. Playing in the waves is fun, but be careful when they get too big. It's all too easy to be knocked down by a huge breaker. An injury can hinder getting to the surface. Rip currents must be avoided. There is also the possibility of dangerous marine life. Sharks are the main concern, but seals are large, strong animals and can harm you if you get too close. Always take heed when the beach is closed and use caution when warning flags are posted. 

Swimming and being in the water are great hot weather activities. By being smart, prepared, and mindful of safety, you can enjoy your swim without incident. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sarasota, Fla.

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