GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Whether you’re heading to the lake, beach or swimming pool, emergency room registered nurse Joshua Lambert at Bon Secours St. Francis says the most important part of water safety is prevention.
“The biggest thing is use of life jackets and the vests that you can put on children to help them float in the pool,” he says.
Lambert says to use properly fitted life preservers that are marked as U.S. coast guard approved, and that life jackets are always more reliable than “puddle jumper swim vests.”
The American Red Cross stresses the importance of making sure all members of your family have these basic swimming skills: being able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance then get out of the water safely.
In adults, Lambert says 50 percent of drownings are alcohol related.
Swimming instructors say parents can start teaching their children how to swim when they are as young as 6 months old.
“Just being able to know how to swim is huge, being able to float so the kids have the skills they need to get to safety,” says Rachel Figg, swim instructor at Sportsclub Greenville.
She also stresses the importance of teaching children to ask permission before getting in the water and to never swim alone.
If someone is choking on water, Lambert says to perform CPR right away.
“The heimlich maneuver is not appropriate,” he says. “Do CPR; that’s what we do.”
He says to call 911 right away if you notice these signs of a water emergency: losing consciousness, irritablility, confusion, difficulty speaking or breathing and gargled speech.
According to the CDC, other top factors that lead to drownings include a lack of barriers around pools, seizure disorders and lack of close supervision, even if there’s already a lifeguard present.
To submit a question for our series, click here. You can also hear from experts at Bon Secours St. Francis on this topic and others every Saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio.