Memorial Day is unofficially the start-up of the cookout and grilling season. This holiday weekend will be spent outside grilling up burgers and hot dogs, swimming in the pool, and simply taking in the sunshine. While there is nothing better than enjoying a beautiful day, it is important to remember to stay safe. Both the water and the sun can potentially be harmful to anyone if safety is not considered.
Staying safe in the water
Whether you are swimming at the beach or in the pool in your own backyard, it is important to remember the following safety tips known as the ABC’s of water safety:
- Adult supervision: No child should be allowed in the water unless there is adult supervision. It only takes five minutes for a child to drown, and contrary to how the media portrays it, it usually happens quickly and silently. If you are supervising children swimming in the water it is very important that you don’t get distracted by things like your phone, texting, reading, or even holding conversations with other adults.
- Barriers: Barriers are a great way to keep small children away from the pool area. The barrier or fence should be at least 4 feet tall with a self-latching gate. It should be built to prevent kids from climbing over, under or going around it. To add even more protection it is recommended that you install an alarm, so you can hear if the gate is opened.
- Classes: Swimming classes are great for any child to go through. They will teach them the fundamentals of swimming, including how to float, which can be extremely important and potentially save a child’s life. It is also important to take CPR and first aid classes. If an emergency occurs, you will be prepared to handle it yourself.
- Devices and equipment: Keeping safety equipment in and around your pool area can be important if there is an emergency. It is good to have first aid kits, an emergency whistle, life jackets, and floats. You should also have a reaching device or throwing device that someone can hold onto if they need help. To help a struggling swimmer, remember the American Red Cross swim safety motto: “Reach or throw…don’t go.” Even the best swimmers can be pulled underwater by a panicking swimmer.
Staying safe in the sun
- Protect your skin: Always wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 15. The higher the SPF the more protection you will have and the less likely you are to get a sunburn. After every hour you should reapply sunscreen, especially in the middle of the afternoon when the strong is the strongest.
- Protect your eyes: Sunlight can be very harmful to your eyes, and it is important to wear a good pair of sunglasses to protect them. Pay attention to the UV percentage that the lenses have. The higher that number, the more protection you will have!
- Find shade: Take breaks from being in the direct sunlight. If you can, try to find a nice, shady spot to sit and relax for a while.
- Stay hydrated: It is always important to be drinking enough water, so you stay hydrated! Dehydration can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as heat stroke.
Memorial Day weekend can be a lot of fun but remember these important safety tips to keep yourself and those around you protected from any harm or risks. Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to all our veterans!