Lake and pool weather is here! But before you head out the door with your sunglasses and towel, check out the following tips from the Aberdeen YMCA on how to stay safe in the water.
In South Dakota, many of us live for the long, sunny days of summer. It’s that time of year when kids can run free from school, but their activities don’t slow down. There are more walks to the park, bike rides, driveway basketball games, and of course, trips to the lake or pool. Just like you wouldn’t want to send your kids on their bikes without their helmets, or to a softball game without their bat and a bag of sunflower seeds, there are also a few key things to remember when gearing up for a day on the water.
- First and foremost, don’t forget the sunscreen! While this is not exactly a water safety rule, it is a big part of having fun while we spend our time outside this summer. Many throw caution to the wind and end up with a sunburn on the first day it hits 70 degrees. Everyone knows the tingling sensation and chills that run through the body in the evening after getting a pink tint to their skin. And thereís nothing worse than ruining a long weekend at the lake by struggling to keep the tender skin covered and missing out on beach bumming with family or friends. Apply the sunscreen, wear the hat, or play in the shade, and remember: too much sun is no fun!
- Always swim with a buddy. No matter your age or skill level, you should pair up when getting in the water. A swimming buddy will be able to call for help if you run into problems, or assist you, depending on their skill levels. If thereís a group swimming, buddy up and designate one individual to watch over the younger swimmers without distraction. The buddy system helps to ensure safety for all swimmers.
- Wear a properly fitted lifejacket. This is especially important while swimming in open water, or riding in a boat. Lifejackets can help you if thereís a boating incident, a current that pulls you, or if you get tired while swimming. A lifejacket and the swimming buddy system keep little paddlers safe around open water.
- Listen to your lifeguards. To remain safe when at the pool or a guarded facility, you cannot overlook the importance of listening to your lifeguards. Every rule the facility has in place has been put there with the foremost thought of your safety. If you ever are told a rule and wonder what its purpose is, ask the lifeguard or manager. They are there to protect you, and the more informed you are on why rules are in place, the safer the pool area becomes!
The staff at the Aberdeen Family YMCA Aquatic Center is a great resource for water safety. Their year-round swim lessons teach both kids and adults the tools they need to be smart, and have fun, while in the water. // – Jaynie Spier
For more information, contact the YMCA at 605-225-4910, or visit www.aberdeenymca.org.