Summer safety and Drowning signs

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Kira Jones / The Torch

Summer safety

Simple preventative measures help save lives

Summertime in Oregon is a great time to head outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. One favorite pastime of many Oregonians is to head to local rivers and lakes to cool off. These water-related adventures are great for the family, but can pose some dangers. It’s important to how to be safe before jumping in the water.

According to the American Red Cross, more than 90 percent of families with children will be hitting waterways this summer and almost 48 percent will be swimming in places without a lifeguard on duty. It’s important that children be monitored at all times while in the water. Young children should be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.

One easy safety precaution to take before heading to the nearest pool, lake, or river is to make sure the whole family has been fitted with life jackets. Children — and adults — should wear appropriate life jackets with the correct rating for the activity they will engaging in. Jackets should fit well, be buoyant, and not be faded or otherwise show signs of damage, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Jackets should also be looked over and tested once a year, prior to use.

Different vests offer different kinds of support. It’s a good idea to start at a sporting goods store to see what the options are and get fitted for the correct jacket. Likewise, check out resources online through organizations like the US Coast Guard, which has a brochure in PDF format with more in-depth information.

It’s important to know that drowning doesn’t always look like a person flailing their arms and screaming for help. In fact, it often doesn’t look that dramatic at all, and may be overlooked entirely. For this reason, it is important for anyone heading out on the water to take a friend, and, if in a group, keep an eye on any children at all times.

Drowning signs

Kira Jones / The Torch

In the United States there were approximately 10 drowning deaths per day, between 2005 – 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control. Drowning is preventable. Following are the different stages of drowning, according to the American Red Cross.

Distress

A swimmer may be in distress or drowning if they attempt to swim but make little or no progress. If not helped they may become a drowning victim.

Active

An active drowning victim may be vertical in the water as well, but again, not making progress. They make motions to keep their head above water, but are unable to properly tread water to stay afloat.

Passive

A person who is passively drowning is motionless and face down and may be near the bottom of the water, or floating just below the surface.

Dry Drowning

Though a bit rare, dry drowning does occur. This is when water has been inhaled while swimming, according to webmd.com. Symptoms have a delayed onset, occurring 1 – 24 hours after swimming. Symptoms may include coughing, trouble breathing, chest pain and feeling extremely tired. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect someone may have symptoms of dry drowning.

In case of an emergency, always call 911.