Health Officials Encourage Water Safety
May 28, 2021
As the end of May is here and the summer unofficially begins this weekend, more residents and visitors to Flagler County will hit the beach or the pool and enjoy the warm weather. Since May is recognized as Water Safety Month and June is National Safety Month, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler County encourages locals to remember to “play it safe” when it comes to water, particularly over the Memorial Day holiday.
With 19 miles of coastline and plenty of opportunities for swimming, boating and frolicking along the shore, Flagler County is a destination for water fun. It is, however, important to recognize things you can do to prevent water-related injuries. Take an opportunity to share with your family and friends how to stay safe in the water and use these tips to enjoy a safe and fun-filled summer.
- Never swim alone Swimming in open water is much different than swimming in a pool. Even the strongest swimmer can get in trouble swimming in open water. That’s why everyone—children, teens and adults—should never swim alone and always use the buddy system when swimming.
- Follow the rules whether it’s in the ocean or at the pool. Paying attention to safety signs and flags can help swimmers avoid dangerous conditions and currents like rip tides.
- Open cuts or wounds should not be immersed in water; if there’s bacteria in the water, they can enter the body through a cut or wound. Water should not be swallowed as well. And, if you get a cut or wound while swimming, wading or boating, wash it with clean, running water and soap, and cover with a clean, dry waterproof bandage.
- Maintain equipment and create sturdy barriers around pools or spas to block young children from falling in. Other equipment surrounding pools like decking, siding, fencing, stairs and ladders should be free of damage or fixed promptly to prevent accidents.
- Learn to swim One of the best ways to reduce drowning risks in children is for them to learn how to swim at an early age. Research shows that children’s drowning risk is reduced if they learn to swim by four years old. A local organization Watersafe FL offers free swimming scholarships for Flagler County children. For more information, visit http://www.watersafefl.org or sign up in person at their upcoming event on June 5th
- Watch your kids Parents know to supervise their small children, even when a lifeguard is present, but older children—including teens—need to be watched, too. Children ages 1–4 are more likely to drown in home swimming pools and children ages 5–19 are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. That’s why it’s important to have someone watching on shore or deck to see where swimmers are at all times.
- Wear a Life Vest Inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life vest. While it’s important to wear a life vest in the water, life vests should never be solely relied upon. Parents should always keep a close eye on children while they are in the water.
Florida’s Waters are Natural Places—Some More Wild than Others
All of Florida’s natural waters are home to aquatic life, land animals and plants that should not be approached or touched by people. Swimmers, waders and boaters should also stay away from red tides and algal blooms like blue green algae (cyanobacteria) that occur naturally. Both can cause skin irritation, burning eyes, and throat and breathing irritations.
Walking barefoot on beaches, piers, lakeshores and rivers is not a good idea. The risk for injury—stepping on sharp objects, slipping on mossy rocks, tripping on uneven trails—is high. Shoes should match the activity.
Summer fun begins this weekend. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a great time at the beach, pool, lake or river, while using good judgment about water safety.