Heading to the beach? Some tips on safety and what to do in an emergency

Surf's Up: Children love to play on the beach but always be aware of the dangers
Surf's Up: Children love to play on the beach but always be aware of the dangers

The Irish Water Safety Authority is asking everyone to play safe during the current hot spell.

John Leech of Irish Water Safety said that parents need to be very vigilant near water and when possible try and swim near beaches with lifeguards.

"Children absolutely adore water, they want to be in there all the time," he said.

"Make sure you don't get distracted, really. Supervise them at all times, put down the Facebook and the Twitter account and your phone and concentrate on your children on the beach, or the lake or river, or wherever you're swimming."

Tips on Water Safety

  • Where possible swim where there are lifeguards on duty.
  • Swim in view of lifeguards and always follow their advice
  • Swim within your depth in case of cramp
  • Beware of currents 
  • Swim in daylight, not in darkness
  • Pay attentions to signs on the beach
  • Avoid swimming in unfamiliar places
  • Always supervise children even if they can swim
  • Be aware of water temperature to avoid hypothermia
  • Swim parallel and close to the shore
  • Do not use inflatable toys in open water
  • If boating or fishing, wear a lifejacket with a crotch strap
  • Never swim alone.

If you suspect someone is drowning you could follow these USSSA guidelines:

  •  Throw, Don’t Go – a young child struggling in the water can easily cause an adult attempting a rescue to drown as well. Panic can cause a child to obstruct an adult from being able to swim or stay above the water. Obviously it’s safer to throw a lifesaving device if one is available. However if there isn’t one, you may be able to us a towel, rope or a pool noodle to reach the person in the water, wait until he or she grabs hold and then tow the person safety.
  • Call for help – alert others around you that a drowning is occurring before you take action to try to save the victim. In case something goes wrong it is vitally important that other people know you may need assistance with the rescue. Call or ask someone to call the emergency services before you attempt a rescue.
  • Approach from behind – if you need to enter the water to save someone from drowning, it is best to approach the person from behind to lessen the likelihood the person will grab on to you and pull you under the water as well.
  • Wear a life jacket – if you are attempting to rescue a drowning victim in an open body of water like a river or lake put on a life jacket before you enter the water and if possible secure yourself to your boat or shore with a rope. Conditions in the water will be unknown and you will not know if you will be fighting currents or an underwater log. The life jacket could save your life and the victim’s.
  • Watch for signs of secondary drowning – people who experience a drowning incident can still have water in their lungs hours after and need to be watched closely for signs of trouble breathing which could indicate a secondary drowning emergency. If difficult breathing is noted after a drowning, immediately seek medical help.

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