Durban - With the recent numbers of fatal and non-fatal drownings, and many South Africans preparing to head to their holiday destinations, those planning a trip to the beach are urged to take care.
ER24's Russel Meiring said people should remember however that anyone, even those who can swim, are at risk of drowning.
Risk-taking and overconfidence in swimming ability may play a significant role in water-related deaths.
Here are a few tips to remember:
- Never allow a child to swim without adult supervision. Also, never leave youngsters unsupervised around water bowls or bathtubs for example. You can drown in approximately two centimetres of water.
- Ensure children wear a life jacket if they cannot swim.
- Keep your pool covered with an approved cover when not in use.
Safe swimming in open water:
· Do not swim too far out into the ocean. After a while, you may struggle due to fatigue or get swept away further due to strong currents.
· Wearing a life jacket is vital. Remember your life jacket when participating in water sports such as boating, tubing or rafting.
· When at the ocean, swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
· Never swim alone.
· Remember that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool.
· Never dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water.
What to do if someone is drowning?
· If you are at the coast and you see a person drowning, alert a lifeguard immediately. If you decide to save the person yourself, ensure you wear a floatation device.
· If you find a person drowning and are able to get them out of the water, initiate CPR if there is no pulse and breathing.
· Do not stop CPR unless the victim starts to breathe on his/her own.
· Call for an ambulance as soon as possible and tell them what you are doing so they can send the correct level of care.
· Do not put the person in the car and drive to hospital. You may be involved in an accident due to panic or the victim may suffer brain damage while en route to hospital.
In case of a near drowning, seek medical attention as soon as possible and explain clearly to medical staff what has happened. There are instances where secondary drowning occurs. This is more common in children than adults and may be difficult to recognise. The person may seem okay even though they may have taken in water that finds its way to the lungs.