This week Your Legal Corner discusses "Water Safety."
Jaws was the first summer blockbuster movie ever made where many of us became fearful of what lurked beneath the water. From the opening notes to the theme song to iconic lines such as "we're gonna need a bigger boat," Jaws made sharks everyone's greatest fear about going into the water.
In reality, the risk of being killed by a shark is about the same as winning the Powerball lottery. However, water does pose significant safety risks. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional death for people of all ages and the second leading cause of death for children 1 to 14 years of age.
Water is an attraction for just about all children. It can take less than a minute for someone to drown. Please consider the following water safety tips this summer before heading to the pool, lake or shore.
Regardless of where your child is swimming, the most important safety tip is make sure they know how to swim. The greater their swim skills, the more safe they will be. There are a variety of organizations that provide swim lessons in South Jersey including the Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club, the YMCA of Gloucester County as well as the American Red Cross.
Pool Safety Tips
If you own a pool, learn to perform CPR on children and adults. Always make sure there is a designated adult supervising children in the water. Make sure your pool has at least a four-foot fence with self-closing or self-latching gates. Install pool or gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
Share safety instructions with your family, friends and neighbors. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes or other openings to avoid getting stuck. If a child is missing, always look first in the pool or spa. Always have your phone close by in case of emergency.
Lake Safety Tips
Many families will head to a local lake to beat the summer heat. Make sure you only swim in designated swim areas. If there isn't a lifeguard on duty, your responsibility is to watch your child, not work on your tan. Don't ever dive into a lake because it is usually too dark to see how deep it really is. If you ever see someone struggling in the water, find a flotation device to throw to them. Resist the urge to dive in after them as you could be pulled under as well.
Ocean Safety Tips
Due to the ocean's currents, swimming in the ocean is more difficult than at a lake or pool. It is important to learn how to swim in the surf before venturing out any further. Like the lake, only swim at a lifeguard-protected beach in the designated swim areas. Make sure to obey all instructions from lifeguards who will have all available information on the swimming conditions that day.
Rip currents can be extremely dangerous to beachgoers. A rip current is a strong, narrow current of water that moves directly away from the shore. If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and than swim toward shore.
Check out www.knowbeforeyougo.org for more information on swim safety.
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss "Distracted Driver Season is here again!"
Victoria M. Dalton is a dedicated Family/Elder Law Attorney with the Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Email correspondence to [email protected] or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational material about the law and is not legal advice.