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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summertime Water Safety

As summertime continues on, so do long days spent by the pool or at the water park. But increased fun often means increased risk of injury. Avoid experiencing water accidents or injuries by following a few common safety tips and looking for warning signs for potential dangers. While the most severe risk involved with water play is drowning, there are many other dangers that adults and caregivers should be cognizant of when monitoring children around water activities. Slip and fall hazards, sunburn and sun poisoning, chlorine burns, and other accidents are all risks that can often be avoided by following a few simple safety practices.

Water Safety Tips:

1. Monitor young children and non-swimmers at all times. Even if a child seems safe in a water floatation apparatus, a designated adult should remain on duty at all times. Seemingly safe devices can malfunction in a split second and one shouldn’t depend on a lifeguard to be the sole responsible party.

2. Check for compliant drain covers in all pool or spas. The Pool and Spa Safety Act is named for Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven year old girl who died as a result of non-compliant drain covers. One might not realize the power behind the filtration system and an improperly covered drain could lead to serious injury or even death.

3. Abide by all posted safety signs and avoid running near wet areas. A slip and fall personal injury are more prone to occur in wet areas. While excited children might find it difficult to abide by a no running rule, broken bones, sprained ankles, and skinned knees can often be avoided by slowing down. Furthermore, investing in water shoes with traction on the bottom might also help avoid injuries.

4. Beware of hot pavement and play equipment. According to National Safety Incorporated, when the air temperature is 87 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement can reach temperatures as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit. While it might be easy to assume that water will cool surfaces surrounding pools and water equipment, injury can still occur when temperatures creep up. Check all surfaces before allowing children to play or walk in order to avoid burns.

5. Utilize a sunscreen or sun block to prevent sunburn. Most of us have experienced sunburn at one time or another and often it seems more of a nuisance than anything. It can become serious, however, if prolonged exposure to the sun occurs. Sun poisoning can even occur if a burn is severe and results in fever, vomiting, and purpling of the skin. Additionally, unprotected sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, over 80 percent of skin cancers are a result from sun exposure.  They recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays) that is water resistant and at least an SPF 30.  Furthermore, rash guard SPF protective clothing, hats, and umbrellas can further defend against the sun.  And don’t forget to reapply as often as recommended, especially for children who are in and out of the water or doing activities that cause friction. Find a more comprehensive list of tips and warnings by visiting The Skin Cancer Foundation website: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/swimming

6. Know the warning signs of chlorine burns. The sun isn’t the only potential source of burning.  Chlorine is used in many pools and water parks to kill bacteria in the water.  While it presents little risk when administered properly, there are reported cases each year of people, especially children, who suffer from chlorine burns as a result from exposure to too much of the chemical and the gas it produces.  Blurred vision, nausea, difficulty breathing, and redness around the eyes and mouth are a few of the early warning signs found on the CDC website.  The risk for exposure is higher in indoor pool buildings, as ventilation can be a problem.

To lower risk, avoid swimming right after chemicals have been administered, make sure areas indoors are well ventilated, and never be afraid to ask about a pool maintenance and chemical administration before swimming in a new place. If chlorine burn is suspected, move to a ventilated area, remove effected clothing and wash with soap and water immediately. Follow up by rapidly seeking medical attention. For more detailed information about chlorine burn, visit the CDC website at the following address: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/chlorine/basics/facts.asp


Injury doesn’t have to be a part of your summertime fun, but if you do find yourself in a situation where you are the victim of an injury due to improperly maintained pools or parks, please don’t hesitate to contact personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to help you with your needs. Serving the South Carolina cities of Rock Hill, Beaufort, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-866-STEWART, and we’ll help you get back out in the sun.

For more information about pool safety, visit https://www.poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/