McKenna is a Red Cross aquatics instructor who also works at
Barrington Yacht Club, Brown & Roger Williams University.
A water safety expert, Mike is sharing his Top Ten
list of safety tips for summer. Save this section and share
it with children, grandkids, friends and babysitters so
everyone will keep safety at the top of their list this summer!
- Learn to swim.
This is the most important thing you can teach your child. The
Red Cross offers swim instruction for every age and level of
ability. Make water safety instruction a top priority.
- Swim where theres a lifeguard
on duty. An emergency can happen
in seconds. Having someone nearby who is trained to handle emergency
situations is critical especially with small children.
- Keep young children under the constant
supervision of a parent or responsible adult. Inflatable floaties or inner tubes
cannot take the place of a set of adult eyes. Make sure your
child care provider understands that children should never be
left alone even for a second.
- Wear sunscreen. Too much sun causes skin cancer and premature
aging. Choose sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of
at least 15, and make sure it protects against UVB and UVA rays.
Limit sun exposure (especially for young children) between 10am
and 2pm; this is when ultra violet rays are most harmful.
- Watch weather forecasts and dont
swim during an electrical storm.
If you see a storm, fog, or high winds, get out of the water!
Water conducts electricity, making the pool or ocean a dangerous
place during a storm. Approaching storms can also cause heavy
surf it is not the time to take kids swimming!
- Dont dive or jump into shallow
water. Every year, over 1,000
disabling neck and back injuries occur as the result of unsafe
water activities. Learn proper diving and jumping techniques,
and dont dive into water that is less than 9 feet deep
unless youve been specifically trained.
- Wear a life jacket when boating. That applies to everyone, no matter how good
a swimmer you are. It is too difficult to put on a life jacket
once youre in the water. Once your fingers get cold manipulating
them to secure the jacket is tough. Make sure your life jacket
has the Coast Guard Stamp of approval.
- Know your limits. Be aware of the toos: too
tired, too cold, too far from shore, too much sun, too much strenuous
activity. Dont let peer pressure influence your decisions;
know what you can handle. Never mix alcohol and water activities.
- Be prepared.
Parents, grandparents, babysitters anyone supervising
a child near water should know CPR and First Aid. Sign up for
a Red Cross course and purchase the Red Cross Basic Water
Rescue manual. In an emergency, knowing what to do can
mean the difference between life and death.