Summertime in South Florida is in full swing, which means plenty of sunshine, longer daylight hours, camp, pool parties, backyard barbeques and outdoor activities. The hot summer months can also bring an increased risk of recreational accidents, heat overexposure, sunburns, bug bites and more. Broward Health’s family medicine specialists share tips on how we can protect ourselves during the summer season.

Swimming Risks

Whether swimming in a backyard pool, snorkeling in the ocean or waterskiing on a lake, water safety should be a priority. There are several precautions you can take to avoid water-related accidents:

*Never allow a child to be in or around the water without adult supervision. Fencing, netting, or pool covers should be used to prevent children from entering the area.

*To avoid the risk of a spinal cord injury, be aware of the dangers of diving into shallow waters and ensure that there is proper signage to serve as a reminder.

*Make certain that the dock, pool and/or boat deck are clear of clutter to avert a slip and fall.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping rescue equipment nearby, such as a life preserver, lifejackets, or a long pole with a shepherd’s hook at the end.

“Unfortunately, Bro-ward County leads the state of Florida with the most unintentional drowning deaths,” said Venu Devabhaktuni, M.D., medical director of Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “In addition to all of the above safety tips, swimming lessons and refresher courses are important to have a healthy, fun summer.”

Listen to more information from Dr. Devabhaktuni .

It is not always apparent when someone is struggling so it is critical to be vigilant and always keep an eye on young swimmers. Key signs to identify if someone might be drowning:

*A swimmer might push their arms downward attempting to elevate their bodies above the waterline.

*A swimmer’s hair is covering their face and they have glassy or unfocused eyes.

*A swimmer may be gasping or hyperventilating.

With dry drowning, water is not inhaled into the lungs. Instead, when a child breathes in water it causes vocal cords to spasm and close, shutting off airways and making it hard to breathe.

Secondary drowning happens if water gets into the lungs. There, it can irritate the lining of the lungs and fluid can build up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema.

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