Be safe in or near the water these holidays, and always

2015-12-17 06:00

DROWNING is one of the leading causes of accidental death among children in South Africa. With the dawn of the December school holidays, thousands will head for a swim at the beach or public swimming pools.

If you’re planning to go swimming, go through some water safety tips with everyone in your family and make sure they stick to them.

Tips:

•knowing how to swim is an important skill that everyone should have. Find out from your council if there are services offering free swimming lessons;

•swim with a buddy and swim with someone who is a good swimmer;

•never go into deep water unless you are an experienced swimmer;

•swim where and when lifeguards are on duty;

•bathers are urged to swim within designated bathing areas, marked with red and yellow flagged beacons.

Swimming hours are from 6am to 6.30pm and swimming at night is dangerous as there are no lifeguards on duty then;

•swim or take part in water sports when you are alert, never when you’re sleepy or have used drugs or alcohol;

•keep a look out for your friends - if you’re a good swimmer, but your friends aren’t, make sure they know their limits, and keep an eye on them in the water;

•don’t drink and swim – drinking alcohol (or using drugs) dramatically increases the risk of injury – especially when diving;

•if a large wave approaches you and there is not enough time to get away from it, try to dive underneath it. Keep your body as low as possible until the wave passes over you;

•never leave a young child unattended near water and do not entrust a child’s life to another child and teach children to always ask for permission to go near water;

•if a child is missing, check the water first, seconds count in preventing death or disability;

•steer clear of animal life like jellyfish and stingrays;

•always keep swimming pools covered with a safety net or cover; and

•be wise and remember, water is dangerous – even if you know how to swim.

- KZN EMS.

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